New York Times turns off double click dictionary pop ups!

by Will Chen on 16 October 2008 15 comments

The New York Times website had a terrible feature that would open a new window every time you double clicked on any word in a story.  The window pointed to a definition of the word you just highligthed.  Apparently the Times had a pretty low opinion of its readers' intelligence.  People absolutely hated this feature.

Now the terror is finally over! Take a look at the new feature:

 

 new york time definitions

 

Instead of an annoying pop-up window, you get a little question mark icon that you can easily ignore. 

I constanty highlight text while I browse. This feature update makes me feel like this:

 

 elmo cheers nyt decision

Thank you New York Times!

booya

Additional photo credits: Mark Sebastian, Matthew Johnston
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Guest's picture
Jiff Wilson

Its about time, those things were quite annoying to say the least.

Jiff
www.privacy-tools.at.tc

Guest's picture

I loved that feature and was quite disapointed when it was turned off. I never hit it by accident, so I don't know why people hated it.

Guest's picture
Brant

I am an adult literacy instructor and I will miss this feature a great deal. It was wonderful. By the way, the new feature only works in Internet Explorer. That stinks.

Guest's picture
Not True

The new feature is still somewhat annoying (being a "screensifter"), but a much needed improvement. And it works in Firefox by the way.

Guest's picture
Guest

now they just have to let us disable timespeople

Guest's picture
yay

the old feature was great.
i'm glad they didn't get rid of the whole thing altogether.
great compromise NYT.

Guest's picture
MS

Especially useful for young people and those who speak English as a second language. Love that little question mark! :)

Guest's picture
Guest

Why the heck would anyone double click on a word for any other purpose. Seems like a nice feature.

Guest's picture
NYT is awesome

Other than the fact that NYT is one of the few actual newspapers that publish articles for the sake of informing readers, I love NYT website for its friendly features.

The double click feature was quite annoying (I highlight as well), but it's great that they still kept the dictionary function. I've also noticed that they recently taken down the feature in parts of the web, except in articles where peolpe might need to look up words. Keep up the good work NYT! (make sure you don't add too many features that slows down the website, or requires good internet connection)

Guest's picture
Guest

can't believe people like that maddening function.

better to just use firefox and add the dictionarysearch add-on. it allows you to add your own dictionaries to search (e.g. m-w), or other references (e.g. wikipedia), etc. it works in nearly the same way (highlight the word and right-click). And it has the advantage of working on *any* website, not just NYT's.

Guest's picture
Guest

FWIW, if you are on a mac, you can get the same functionality by hovering over a word and pressing CTRL+COMMAND+D. I find that the first time I use it, I have to press it twice to 'get it going'.. but then it works every time.

Guest's picture
Guest

I hate the question mark thing so much! It disables the right click menu, from which I can google a highlighted phrase. Don't NYT realize that more often I want to do news or image searches rather than definitions.

Guest's picture
Guest

I hate it too! I was hoping to find a way to turn it off. I just want to highlight and do a google search. It drives me insane when I can't do that.

Guest's picture
Guest

Many teachers encourage their students to read the New York Times because it has a higher reading level than other newspaper. It's a great opportunity for students to learn English, if they are non-English speakers or to just expand their vocabulary. I think it's very thoughtful of the NYT to be thinking about the the younger audiences.

Guest's picture
Question Mark and the Upsetters

the question mark sucks too - i'm a highlighter too - I never knew I was not alone :)