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To Popup or not to Pop up - research


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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 09:44 PM

I wanted to gather up some research and goodies for us to refer to.

Please feel free to add articles, data, findings, etc. Comments pro and con, or related to any of the links, are okay too. This may be helpful to someone down the road :)

Bunnyfoot Research into Pop-Ups shows Users Hate Them

Caroline's Corner: A Farewell to Pop-Ups

Thread - To pop up or not to pop up

Kim

#2 bragadocchio

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 10:21 PM

Nice articles, Kim.

The five rules for popups discussed in the Caroline's corner site are pretty good. They also describe why people dislike popunders even more than popups (at least, I do)

I agree with her that they might not be worth even considering based upon the other problems with popups.

#3 fisicx

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 04:52 AM

Popups are evil. Nuff said.

As to opening new windows to external sites it's something I have never really considered. I really hate new windows opening unless I choose to do so myself (use right click by default) but I also understand the argument that many users may not feel the same. It seems therefore that the community will remain forever split on the issue of new windows: some like it and some don't.

Thought: I use NS7 and Opera, always open in new tab not window. Forcing me to open a new window removes my options to do this.

#4 bragadocchio

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 05:26 AM

Hi Fisicx,

Welcome to the forum.

In the right context, would a popup be not evil, for instance, in a help field on a form? ;)

Not an advertisment, but an additional few statements providing a little more information and instruction?

#5 Black_Knight

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 12:29 PM

No technique or technology is, in itself, ever evil, or wrong, or bad. There are simply good and bad uses for it, situations where it is the best solution, and situations where it is not.

A case in point would be a thread we had on increasing conversion rates on Landing Pages, where adding a popup of information actually helped raise conversion rates, and trust levels, by some 30 percent.

Throwing away 30% of your profits through over-simplifying a serious issue isn't 'evil' either, but it could certainly be a very costly error.

#6 matauri

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 08:23 AM

pop-ups are good for faq, thumbnails, viewing docs, or the like.

I previously thought that popups for external links were essential to not losing your visitor. And probably because most users still use IE, this still has valid use. But because I use Firefox mainly, and b4 used to use Opera for most of my browsing, popups on new pages can be a pain. However, I think that after MS is done with its useless SP's, and finally brings out a revamped browser, that they will probably follow along the lines of Mozilla & Opera & have tabbed windows.

#7 fisicx

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 04:32 AM

I am chastised over my suggestion that the pop-up is evil.

Agreed that there are occasions where a pop-up may be useful. So, if one ignores all the adverts and other insidious detritus that users have to trawl through then yes there is a place for the pop-up.

I would however suggest that warning the user that they will get a pop-up is better. That way they are unlikely to close the thing before it has a chance to load (a straw poll in the office shows that anything that opens without warning is usually closed without reading the contents).

This warning of new windows (which is what a pop-up actually is) will enable users to choose what they want to do.

Another thought. To get a pop-up to work javascript has to be invoked. If the user allows javascript then there are a whole bunch of alternatives to the pop-up. And the CSS acronym tag can be used to add helpful comments to a web page.

#8 bragadocchio

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 05:35 AM

Some nice suggestions, Fisicx.

There is a lot of junk out there and in many cases, popups are bad. I think you're spot on about warning people about new windows.

As for the javascript, I like using "target" in case javascript is missing:

<a onclick="popUp('http://www.example/help/example.htm'); return false;" href="http://www.example.com/help/example.htm" target="new">help (new window)</a>

But I think that a few other options are worth exploring, too. Like the acronym tag.

#9 fisicx

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 07:29 AM

If we consider the purpose of this forum: Usability then it seems that there is some concensus here (at least between you and I bragadocchio).

1. Directed pop-ups to enhance the usability of a site - Good.

2. Note that a new window/pop-up will be introduced - Good.

3. Testing the viability of alternatives to pop-ups - Good.

4. The use of pop-ups for internal links - Bad unless used for point 1.

5. Using pop-ups for adverts/spam - Bad.

The customer is king - if your technical solution sours their experience of the site then you must ask if the solution was the best option. Still firmly entrenched in the 'keep it simple stoopid' principle.

Which brings us onto the the suggestion that a pop-up can be used for online help. OK, but if users need help in filling in a form then could it be that the form is not very usable. Would it not be better to add some words to the form that state 'Enter your URI in this box. If you do not have a URI then leave it blank'. This way the user will not be left wondering what to do and are less likely to up with the message 'you have not filled in the box' when they click on submit.

Remember, users are imaptient when it comes to the internet - if they are not sure or confused they will often not persist (which links nicely to the Worldwide Usability topic: http://www.cre8asite...p?showtopic=411

#10 cre8pc

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 10:52 AM

I don't hate them necessarily, and I do like help and FAQ's when offered in some cases as pop up box. What I do find annoying are instances where something is distracting while reading, or keeps returning no matter how many times I click it away, or asks me to subscribe to something as a first-time user, who just got there and hasn't had a chance to look at the site yet.

Sometimes it seems like not a lot of logic goes into the use of popups, but I can usually tell when someone has given this method some thought and is attempting to be considerate if they use them. I cut these folks some slack, because they do seem to care.

#11 suka

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 06:18 PM

I'm with Kim on this one -- I think in limited application popups have their place and can be very useful. For example, if you have a customer who is in the middle of the checkout process, and they need help with a question on shipping -- I would prefer to see the help available via a popup. This way -- the customer receives the information they need without having to leave the checkout page and potentially become confused/loose their spot. Just my 2 cents.

#12 fisicx

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 03:16 AM

Hi Suka,

If the users needs help then why no put that help on the page itself. As I suggested above, if the form is fully usable then no help should be required.

Not saying no to all pop-ups, just that with a bit of thought on the page design, there may no longer be a need for the pop-ups.

#13 petersmart

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 11:05 AM

I think it's important to remember that more and more people (myself included) are using pop-up killers.

For instance I use Crazy browser as my main browser.

This incorporates an excellent pop-up blocker which actually has caused me problems on those occasions I have needed to fill in a pop-up form.

So I personally would forego pop-ups on any site at all.

#14 Black_Knight

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 12:33 PM

Or one could argue the opposite, since popups do still have legitimate uses, and one should therefore discourage users from relying on poorly written total-blockages and use one of the hundreds that are selective and allow exceptions to be set. :)

I'm never in favour of aiding people to throw out babies with bathwater, and will happily make life hard for those who do so.

#15 Respree

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 02:52 PM

I curious how a 'smartly-written' popup blocker allow for certain popups and disallow others. Not sure if there's a way to distinguish between the two. I thought they all indiscriminately blocked all popups.

I think the best policy is to say [new window] next to a popup links, allowing the user to allow or disallow the popup at their discretion. It seems like with the proliferation of popup blocking software, it's becoming less and less advantageous, whereby the potential for bad outweighs the potential for good.

#16 Black_Knight

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 05:52 PM

curious how a 'smartly-written' popup blocker allow for certain popups and disallow others. Not sure if there's a way to distinguish between the two.

The way a good popup blocker works (as per that built into Opera) is to differentiate between a popup that 'fires' onLoad, onClose or onOpen, from those that open onClick (i.e. have been user-selected to open).

It isn't rocket science, so anything that doesn't allow for that differentiation is just poorly written and implemented.

A really great one only allows onClick events, and thus disables the onMouseOver ones too.

#17 Respree

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 08:36 PM

Ah, yes. That makes sense. Thanks, Ammon.

#18 test-ok

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 11:56 AM

A really great one only allows onClick events, and thus disables the onMouseOver ones too.

That pretty much says it. :(

#19 radiorental

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Posted 04 November 2004 - 01:03 PM

'Pop-ups' (dialogue) more evil than you think

http://secunia.com/s...04-10/advisory/

3) Description of Vulnerabilities


Vulnerability "A":
It is possible for a inactive tab to spawn dialog boxes e.g. the
JavaScript "Prompt" box or the "Download dialog" box, even if the user
is browsing/viewing a completely different web site in another tab.

The problem is that the browsers does not indicate, which tab launched
the dialog boxes, which therefore could lead the user into disclosing
information to a malicious web site or to download and run a program,
which the user thought came from another trusted web site e.g. their
bank.

Demonstration:
http://secunia.com/m..._spoofing_test/

Vulnerability "A" Affects:
Mozilla 1.7.3
Mozilla Firefox 0.10.1
Camino 0.8
Opera 7.54
Konqueror 3.2.2-6
Netscape 7.2
Avant Browser 9.02 build 101
Avant Browser 10.0 build 029
Maxthon (MyIE2) 1.1.039

#20 Tim

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Posted 04 November 2004 - 06:32 PM

I would think the easiest solution to that would be if the browsers focused on the tab that spawned the dialog, when it happens. There's probably even a Firefox extension for it. :)

#21 Webnauts

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 01:18 AM

I thought you would like to have a look at a tutorial I wrote about this, and published on my web site: http://www.webnauts....new-window.html

#22 Captain Obvious

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 08:33 AM

Spam is for eating. But even that isn't any good.

#23 PaulWalsh

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 05:53 PM

You’ll be happy to hear that the W3C Mobile Web Initiative (MWI) Best Practices are banning the use of popups.

However, some form of advertising must be permitted for lots of obvious reasons.

Paul

#24 Webnauts

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 07:40 PM

Thanks Paul. Great news.

The whole url: http://www.w3.org/TR...060412/#POP_UPS

#25 Britopian

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 02:49 PM

Do marketers still use pop-ups? I would have never known. Anyway, I just wrote an article that somewhat addresses this issue.

Please read:

[link removed by moderator]

Note from moderator: Please refrain promoting your articles at these forums. If you have ideas to share with Cre8asite members, please do so directly on this thread. Thanks for your cooperation.

Edited by Respree, 18 August 2006 - 05:05 PM.


#26 cre8pc

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 03:05 PM

Apparently there's no end in sight!

I've begun to get these new kinds of ads that load on top of news articles and do not disappear. I click off the page, rather than click the ad away, to send a signal to the site owner that I'm not happy with this invasion.

The other one that I'm seeing more of are the "talking people" ads. You can be on a site, reading or scanning along, and suddenly a person rises up from the bottom of the screen and starts talking to you. Totally invasive (but creative too.)

Next, they'll have these hands coming out of my screen, begging for my money. heh

#27 joedolson

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 03:47 PM

The other one that I'm seeing more of are the "talking people" ads. You can be on a site, reading or scanning along, and suddenly a person rises up from the bottom of the screen and starts talking to you. Totally invasive (but creative too.


I loathe those ads... Actually, I really can't stand any ad that makes noise at me - I frequently listen to music while I work, produced through my computer, sometimes at a moderately high volume - and suddenly having somebody LOUDLY selling me their product through my music is definitely an instant killer.

I usually close those pages immediately, and rarely return. (I stopped using weather.com for about a year at one point due to loud, obnoxious advertising.)

#28 canadianchick

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 04:49 PM

I've begun to get these new kinds of ads that load on top of news articles and do not disappear. I click off the page, rather than click the ad away, to send a signal to the site owner that I'm not happy with this invasion.


Most online ads don't bother me. I'm used to them; I figure they're part and parcel of viewing websites. Ads that don't disappear, though, will tick me off - I really don't like it when there is no X or close button that allows me to have control over what I view.

One of my favourite sites occasionally features the do-not-disappear type ads. They vex me, but because of the great content and features of the site. I put up with them. I suspect a lot of users just put up with the uncloseable ads; I think if sites saw their bounce rates doubling or tripling due to the ads, they'd rethink things.



Do marketers still use pop-ups? I would have never known. Anyway, I just wrote an article that somewhat addresses this issue.

Please read: How To Kill Online Conversion Rates


The above article states, "The following are some examples (still used today) that are sure to kill your online conversion rates:" and proceeds to list popups as #1 on the list. I have to wonder if the writer has ever tried implementing popups (now slide in windows, due to popup blockers) and actually tested the effect on his conversions before writing that piece.

In my experience, no matter how many surveys say that users dislike popups (slide ins)... my conversions are always consistently higher when I use a slide in window. (Note: my slide ins are easily closed!) I've tested it a lot - the day I put a slide in on, conversions increase substantially; the day I remove it, conversions decrease. While it's on, conversions remain higher; while it's off, conversions remain lower.

They may be annoying, but popups (slide ins) definitely increase conversions in my industry.

#29 farreaching

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 07:14 PM

Hey there,

Great forum- just joined...

I wrote an article on the topic of Pop-ups and pop up usability... called the Politics of Pop-Ups...

You might want to check that out- has guidelines for pop up use as well.

experiencedynamics.blogs.com/site_search_usability/2005/07/the_politics_of.html

#30 stever

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 12:13 AM

We are beta testing a new application for Web surveys that should make the need for survey popups a part of history.

ASK3 takes a normal survey and asks only three questions at a time of every visitor to a web page without the need for popups, blind links, spam, or bribes, and without taking the visitor off the web page. We are inviting beta testers to try it out and give us feedback.

We have a thread going here in Cre8asite Forums > Website Building > Website Hospital for reviewing the application.

Thanks,

Steve



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