Popup Problems

From decades of user research, we know that people dislike pop ups and modals, but even despite this evidence, pop ups are still everywhere in this lesson. I’ll talk about some pop up problems to reveal why you should never just put it in a pop up. The first problem is showing a pop up the four page content loads. This trend is intrusive because users tasks are interrupted before they even land on the Web page. People have grown accustomed to these premature pop ups and they usually ignore them or look for the fastest way to close them to return to their task.

The next problem is displaying a pop up right after the user logs into their account. When users log in, they usually have a next step in mind because they’re focused on this next step. Users will pay little attention to the pop up and try to close it. Another common problem is asking for an email address before the user has even interacted with the website. Not only will people be interrupted by this pop up, it’s timing and asking for email. Too soon, people will just assume that the site will then send them unwanted spam or junk mail. The next problem is asking for feedback before people do anything. Users will quickly close these pop ups and they have little intent to seek them out. Again, don’t ask for feedback too soon or else you risk not getting any when it matters most. Ask users to provide feedback within your page content after they complete a top task. Another pop up problem is interrupting users to ask for feedback during those critical tasks. Giving feedback won’t often be the top reason for your users visit, so don’t disrupt them with a pop up in the middle of an activity. Offer a tab on the side of your website or even a link in the footer, or a link in the navigation where users can provide feedback. Another problem is showing multiple pop ups, one after another, and displaying multiple pop ups even on top of each other. This can make your site look unprofessional and disorganized. It can also overwhelm users and force them to spend more effort to close each pop. The next problem is displaying a pop up before the user moves to a new site. This is problematic because it overemphasizes the transition and can make users feel lost and confused, especially if the link opens in a new tab or browser window, try to remove the pop ups and minimize the transitions between sites and finally showing a pop up to encourage movement from a site to an application. These can be problematic for users who have no interest in downloading a separate application for the occasional task.

Even users who have your application on their phone may be reluctant to switch channels out of fear of having to start an activity all over again. So you may be wondering when is it acceptable to use pop ups? And the answer is sparingly. Resist the urge to follow the crowd and don’t inundate your users with pop ups to bolster short term metrics.

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