Do you remember those good ol’ days of the internet when a website would have countless popups? Popups that had everything from spam to annoying advertisements to non-relevant news articles and every great now and then it would be something helpful. I don’t think anyone misses those days. Popups can be a helpful tool to use on site, but they were so overused years ago that there needs to be a lot of thought that goes in to when and how to use a popup in 2019.
First things first, when you decide to put something in a popup box on your site – don’t do it. Odds are there’s a better way to get that information across than on a popup box. Popups can be more than just annoying on mobile devices, they can be impossible to work with if it is not set up properly. So step one – don’t use a popup, there is like a better option. Let me help you with this a little, things like special holiday hours, a great sale, construction going on in your area, and your new office dog you got do not belong in a popup.
When you do have something that does in fact warrant going in a popup, I can’t stress how important it is to have a big HUGE close button on the popup. Be sure to test your popup on as many different devices as possible to make sure that the great big HUGE close button is easily accessible and can be clicked on any device. Not sure if your close button is big enough? Make it bigger.
And for the popup design, make sure it matches and meshes with your site design. A popup that has a completely different design might grab attention, but to most users it’s going to do nothing but scream “DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!” (yes, I heard that line often growing up. And yes, I have had Mrs. Robinson sang to me many times). When a lot of users see a popup they are going to have natural instincts kick in and close the popup as soon as possible. If the design matches the site you can increase the odds of users viewing the information you’re presenting in the popup.
Popups could have been a great tool for websites to use, but with the abuse and overuse that went on with them in the 90s and early 2000s (and still to this day) they are tough to use. When in doubt, don’t use one and find a better way to convey the information. If you do put a popup on your site, don’t leave it up all the time and be sure to give users as easy of a time as possible in closing it.