When I visit a web site for the first time, there are a few things that will keep me from returning. One is auto-refreshing the page, ostensibly to boost page views and increase advertising revenue. I don’t mind banner ads, but having the entire page refresh every minute or so shows they are willing to annoy their users to trick their advertisers into thinking the site get more traffic. Besides the distraction to the user, it brings into question the site owner’s ethics. If they are willing to con their advertisers, who’s to say they won’t con you too?
In a nutshell: Don’t automatically refresh your pages to increase the number of page views.
Another web design annoyance is the automatic focus. I use browsers that have tabs and almost always have multiple pages open. As I’m typing this, I have nine. With my high-latency internet connection, I typically open several pages at a time, then begin reading the first page while the others load. When I’m in the middle of reading, it is not pleasant to have my tab switched to a page that just finished loading (in this case, overstock.com). Are they so insecure that they have to force the page to the front to make sure the person didn’t forget about them? It reminds me of a small child trying to get the attention of a busy parent. Instead of looking at their page, I closed it.
In a nutshell: Let users choose which site they want to view. Just because your site has finally loaded does not mean they want to see it right away. They’ll get to it eventually.