Pop-Up Window Effectiveness

In Your Face on brick wall A client recently asked me to add a “overlay window” (a special kind of pop-up) which said “save money.” If you click on it the pop-up it takes you to a page about how you can save money with their company. While I’m not a fan of pop-ups it seemed reasonable that it would be appreciated and clicked on because visitors would want to learn about saving money.

After several months I looked at Google Analytics to see how many people clicked on the “Save Money” pop-up and the end result was out of thousands of page views not one person clicked on the pop-up to go the the Save Money page.

Why Pop-ups Fail

The short answer is that people have negative feelings about popups.

  • Pop-up are associated with advertisements so they create negative feelings
  • Pop-ups are distracting
  • We have learned to disregard them because they are overused
  • Pop-ups are often used for gimmicks
  • We have learned that clicking on pop-ups can infect our computers with viruses.

What should you do instead of creating a Pop-up window?

Organize your information in a hierarchical manner. Prioritize, summarize and provide links to the detailed information (pages). Then you minimize need for a pop-up.

How to use Pop-ups Effectively

Use voluntary Pop-ups (user clicks on someting – pop-up comes up) to save space on the page instead of surprising users with an interruption. Positive ways to use Pop-ups:

  • provide information without leaving the page
  • when people need to fill out a form
  • provide answers to questions
  • to accept comments

Create a link for an action your client wants to take. The link then opens a pop-up with (a form, the answer to a question, statistics, charts, a graph, an image. Banks use Pop-ups like these all the time. Think about the last time you used Bill Pay, A new window opens (a pop-up) and you process your payments. Then you close the window. These are positive, effective ways to use a pop-up.

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