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Saturday, 19 September 2015

How to get rid of Annoying Adverts in Android Chrome

I've tended to accept adverts as the price I have to pay for getting free access to websites, but in the last few months adverts have become so intrusive and annoying as to make some sites almost unusable, particularly on a mobile device. Here are some tactics you might be familiar with:

  • You arrive at a site and start reading something, then it jumps down to make way for an advert that's just appeared above it. You scroll down to find the bit you were reading, and it jumps again as another ad arrives. And then again.
  • While scrolling through an article, a video ad pops out of nowhere. And it's the same video you've been seeing all week.
  • The site freezes while some stupid ad downloads or something. The effect is the same whatever: you can't finish what you were reading.
  • While you're reading, a voice starts talking from a video that's decided to auto-play. On the York Press site you sometimes get two copies of the same video.
  • You're distracted by the animated ad that's playing just to the side of the bit you actually want to read.

Now I realise that the people who place ads are desperate to get you to pay attention to them, but I've pretty well given up on visiting some sites because of the appalling quality of their user experience. I'm trying not to mention The Verge or the Independent.

Today I decided to try a drastic remedy, but it seems to have done the trick: I turned off JavaScript and stopped the little sods in their track.

(This is for Android Chrome 45 on Android 5.1, but other web browsers will have a similar setting somewhere in their options.) Go into Chrome's main menu and pick Settings. Under Site Settings click on JavaScript. Switch it off. It's that simple.

On the downside, any web page that wants you to input text (I don't know, Amazon, say) won't work, but if you just want to read, this will completely block the really irritating ads. Simple ones that don't want to jump around will still be there, and you can pay as much attention to them as you always do. None, in my case. If you do need to use a web page that needs JavaScript to function, you can always just switch it back on while you're there.

Or, here's an idea: install a second web browser app and have one Javascript-enabled, and one not.