After a project was laid on me in the eleventh hour which had to be delivered in the twelfth, I found myself madly trying to educate myself on a foreign subject. The project and the subject doesn’t really matter. What mattered to me was collecting enough data for me to deliver it on time. Google performed beautifully; but a lot of the sites failed. Why? Pop-ups.
Of course, they aren’t the pop-ups of years past, they’re “modal windows” or “lightboxes”. You’ve all seen them. You visit a page, the background fades to grey, and a simple little window automagically springs into existence. Sometimes they asked me to register. Sometimes it was a sales pitch. The reason didn’t matter. I was there to get content. And now you’ve covered it up and forced me to click on something to get to it.
Flash intro = Modal Window
I don’t think I’m alone in this aggravation or this argument. In 2004 Jakob Nielsen represented the pop-up as the most hated feature in web design. And if Marketing Sherpa has reported that 80% of people don’t like Flash Intros, then how far off am I? Even The Oatmeal has registration pages and flash sites holding two spots on his list of 8 websites you need to stop building. Is that a clue that modal windows aren’t a healthy part of the user experience?
Modal Window ≠ Pop-Up
Modal Window = Effective
@paceaux I’m not so against pop-ups anymore when done well. I’ve boosted my list by 150% in 3 months with one.
Well, shoot. How do you argue against something like that?
And why was it so effective? Because you’ve singled out the user’s focus — or because the user doesn’t think he has a choice? If it’s good for business, does that mean it’s good for the users? I’ll let Brett weigh in.
Can we de-modalize the window?
So how do you maintain the clear effectiveness of the modal window without the compromised user experience? Maybe the key is still to create the window — but without covering content. That’s something I haven’t seen yet, so it sounds like I have some homework to do…