I'm having a rather Oatmealesque experience with a particular client's website. The latest 'feature' they have requested is that background music play automatically when the site loads. What should I say to gently convince them that this is a bad idea?
I would introduce them to A/B testing. Then A/B test this feature.
If you're not familiar with it, https://www.google.com/analytics/siteopt/splash?hl=en can set it up for free. Alternately http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/ and http://www.optimizely.com/ are easier to use. Or you could learn the nuts and bolts of it, for example from the tutorial I did at OSCON a few years back, http://elem.com/~btilly/effective-ab-testing/.
Odds are good that the A/B test will tell them what you already know. If the A/B test doesn't tell them that, then they may be one of the small minority of websites where this feature actually makes sense.
Just speak is the only language they understand -> "buzzwords"
just respond thus:
"You want to put background music really? haha that's soo 90's!"
Watch them, immediately drop it like a lead balloon.
I've done this countless times, it works because NO-ONE want's to "think" they are behind the curve.
If I were you, I would send an email with a few articles written by usability experts explaining the problem.
Use the subject line "Suggestions about background music". Make it neutral and friendly.
If they insist, put in the background music.
Client is king, but you have the right to decline any further collaboration if it really hurts you.
Update: few links as requested:
Imagine that you are listening for your favorite online radio, and have a dozen of tabs open in your browser. Then, suddently, a weird music starts on the background and you don't know where is it coming from so that you could turn it off and continue listening for the radio. You then shut down the whole browser and become angry. Describe this use case to your client.
I think your best bet is to advise them on exactly why music is a bad idea..
ie, Different people have different tastes, takes longer to load, etc..
But ultimately, if they still insist, I would go ahead and do as they ask. They are the client and your job is to advise, the choice is ultimately theirs.