you can't see what Iím doing, but I'm just about to
reach for a couple of those Grokcedrin tablets that are so
good when I get an out-of-this-world headache. Pop-ups.
Ouch. You just love them, right? But can you believe it?
Amazon, no less, decided we just had to have them during
the past holiday shopping season, and now they are popping
up all over the web. Obviously, if Amazon does it, it must
be a great idea, right? WRONG!
thought you guys Ďn gals figured this out a while back.
Folks out there don't like pop-ups. At all. Period.
Pop-ups irritate the bejeesus out of them. I absolutely
HATE it when my browser throws me a pop-up and I have to
click out of the pop-up before I can move on. Donít you?
Then why would you think your customers would feel
arenít just annoying, theyíre invasive. Also, except
for the microscopic attention it takes to click them away,
pop-ups are eminently ignorable. Jakob Nielsenís studies
have demonstrated, "Users rarely look at logos,
mission statements, slogans, or any other elements they
consider fluff (in particular, they ignore advertising
and anything that looks like an ad)."1
(emphasis all my own!)
I have to confess they do have a few (a VERY few) useful
applications. Cafepress.com <http://www.cafepress.com>
uses them effectively to help explain procedures for
setting up a store on their site. And there's a nifty
classical music dictionary on Naxos.com <http://www.naxos.com>
where term definitions appear in pop-ups. Pop-ups in
response to Help questions can work. These applications
help speed apprehension and download times, and minimize
the chance the customer will get lost betwixt and between
pages. But thatís about it. If you can do it any other
way except pop ups, do. And if you think pop-ups will
increase sales or customer loyalty, youíve been watching
too much Amazon.
dudes and dudettes; don't be lemmings. If you're going to
use pop-ups, have a reeeaaally good reason for it.
"Just because Amazon does it" doesn't mean a
thing (in fact, letís see how long Amazon gets away with
it!). Most of the time the only effect of pop-ups is to
tick off your customers. And ticked-off customers click on
over to your competitor.
1. "Is Navigation Useful?" Jakob Nielsen.
Alertbox, January 9, 2000. <http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20000109.html>