Why You Should Avoid PopUps on Your WebSite

I’m sure you’ve been there … gone to a website and had one or more windows pop up in your face without having been prompted by you clicking something?

They pop up, they dance, they flash, they slide in, they wiggle, they float in from one side of the page and float out the other, they drop from nowhere out of cyberspace. Some are small and some take up half your screen. Some talk to you and/or play ghastly music at earsplitting volume. You can’t click the Close Window button or attempt to turn down the volume on your computer fast enough … which doesn’t lessen the noise anyway cuz they’ve got these things set to work like TV commercials that about break your eardrums when they come on. I’ve even come across some that are so startling I jump in my chair and get a momentary case of the shakes from having been startled.

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Oh! Let’s not forget those slickery ads on the sides of the pages that make windows pop up just by you setting your mouse to close or unconsciously mousing over them as you slide over to click on something you DO want to read? Progressive Insurance is a good one for that. Their sidebar ads are soooooo sensitive that all you need to do is get close and suddenly Flo is in your face. You might not even realize that you actually provoked this to happen unless you just happen to park your mouse to close to the ad a few times and 2 + 2 suddenly equals 4 and you realize that although you didn’t intend to … your mouse actually made this happen.

Progressive Insurance isn’t the only one guilty of this popup slide over visual mayhem. There are plenty more where they came from.

Then there’s the ones that don’t just hit you on the home page. I just visited an online greeting card site because I need to send my brother-in-law a birthday card. I was assaulted with popup ads on every single page I clicked on. Not only that, but these things covered up things I needed to see or read … like the birthday card selections! I thought these crazy things would stop after I hit a page or two but they didn’t. Sigh … now I’ll have to find another site because I’m not putting up with this!

I could have sworn they outlawed popups years ago! The browser makers even give you an option to turn off popups. So how come I have my browsers set to stop them, and these blasted things still pop up in my face?

Ugh! Enough already! Make it stoppppp!

Speaking as a Consumer

I don’t know about you but speaking as one of a billion-trillion consumers … popups annoy the living daylights out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Flo! I think she’s very expressive and they give her some very witty lines to spit out sometimes. Some of the Progressive commercials are cute (like the “It’s an Office Party!”) one. But like so many other companies advertising out there, they’ve got some real cornball ones, too.

The bottom line is that they’re trying to get your attention and they succeed, how could they not get your attention with this method? The problem is that the attention they’ve gained from me is negative attention. Corny commercials or to many commercials on the same product or the same new upcoming TV show do NOT want to make me buy their product or wait with baited breath for the new show to premiere. In fact for me, they have just the opposite affect. An advertiser that’s annoyed me will not get my business, period.  I won’t buy their product no matter what it is, I won’t watch the show. All their promotions have done nothing more than to totally turn me off to the point I want nothing to do with them.

Don’t Tease Me! You’ll Lose That Game!

One of the biggest popup irritations for me is finding a link to an article that I would really like to read, clicking the link to go there and promptly being confronted with a sign-up or registration pop-up window which prevents me from reading the article until I sign up for whatever it is they want me to sign up for before they’ll give me access.

What happens then? They’ve annoyed me. What happens when a website page annoys me? I’m irritated and I’m gone. It’s an article for crying out loud! To force me to sign up for something to gain access to the site in order to simply read an article is just flat out wrong in my book. If you want me to register for your site or sign up for a newsletter or promotion of some kind … don’t try to force it on me. Let me read the article you teased me with in the first place and give me the option (without having it jump out at me!) to sign up for more, to register to win something, give me free and paid options or whatever might prompt me to want more of your website. When this happens to me, a thought that comes to mind is that these people must be absolutely desperate for people to visit their website and their article is not so important to me that I’m going to play their game. Teasers never win in my website surfing.

Speaking as a Web Designer

When I have a client ask me to add automatic popups to their website, I groan “Ohhhh Nooooo!” as my head hits my keyboard. I raise my head and I can feel my body tightening and thoughts like “Are you crazy! Are you intentionally trying to scare people off?” floods my brain. All I can think of is how these things annoy me no end.

Ok, so who the heck am I? I’m just the web designer who they’re paying me to do what they want me to do. Why should the opinion of one person make my client change their mind to not do this to their website or their business reputation? I’ll tell you why …

When I’m doing a website for a client that’s intended to promote their business or their product, I look at this work from the consumer side of my brain and not as a web designer. The thought comes to this half of my brainnoodles that if popups annoy me, how many other people (translation customers!) might they potentially annoy enough to the point of not wanting to re-visit the client’s web site or buy their products?

Am I the only web designer who feels this way? Absolutely not! This topic gets discussed often amongst web designers and I haven’t met a single one yet who thinks popups belong on a website and they think this way for the very same reasons I do.

Automatic popups on your website are high on the list of potential business killers. Before you even consider adding a popup to your website … I urge you to think it about it from the consumer angle and think hard before asking me to follow through with your request. Even if you love popups to death, even if you think they’re cool and catchy eye candy … you are not the one buying your product.

7 responses on “Why You Should Avoid PopUps on Your WebSite

  1. No lengthy comment needed here, Deb — you’ve said it all. So I’ll just “ditto” your remarks times ten!

    I’ve never cared for pop-ups, pop-outs, or anything that “pops” right in front of my face on a web page. On the other hand, I don’t mind the ultimate footer ads and I actually think they’re pretty cool and an effective way to build a list of subscribers. They’re obviously located at the bottom of the page, which is out of the way of the main content, and they don’t play music — Amen!

    Melanie
    31DBBB member
    #BetterUrBlog

    • Deb says:

      I’ve seen some websites that have very neat footer subscribe boxes and things like that. I’ve also seen some that are just as bad as a popup in your face. If done right, they’re neat but if you’re constantly popping things up just by moving your mouse around the screen, that isn’t good either. Music on websites is whole ‘nother post, LOL! Thanks for the idea! Thanks for dropping by and leaving your thoughts.

  2. YES. Ditto. Rinse and repeat. Cannot be said enough.

    So many places that seem otherwise useful or handy use pop-up “Sign up for my Newsletter!” notices and turn off otherwise interested visitors.

    I usually give an otherwise recommended link one chance with a pop up. If I get a second while I’m on a site, I’m gone. It’s distracting, irritating, and prevents me from getting what I really want from you – your content.

    So thank you. :) Also, first visit, nice site!

    • Deb says:

      Thanks, Paige! I’m glad you agree with me. Unfortunately, I’m seeing more and more popups all the time :( and getting more and more annoyed with them all the time.

  3. Popupstar says:

    I close any site with a popup (not the popup) in the very instance it pops up. It’s a reflex. Any company name I catch while closing the site has discredited itself forever as having an extremely annoying business conduct and there’s nothing I want that bad that I have to deal with them.

    So for me they are doing the exact opposite of what they’re supposed to do and I didn’t even deliberately plan on that or had an existing opinion about popups. Most marketing people know from studies made years ago that popups are highly counterproductive in many ways.

    But still, serious companies have crappy marketing departments not really interested in anything some cheap outsourced web service shack they hire tells them about their great plans that actually consist of popups and black hat SEO spam, so they will never disappear.

  4. Tushar says:

    as a reader i hate all pop ups. They should be avoided strictly.

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