A pop up on the Dallas Morning News website

Resist the temptation to use popups

Pops seem to be so in these days.

How many times do you go to a website and then after it loads you get a pop up to sign up for an email subscription or webinar or something of that nature? It’s a lot.

And it’s annoying.

It’s an unfortunate web trend these days. And because of that, you might be tempted to use it on your website as well.

And I’m here to tell you that that’s a bad idea. Only bad things can happen with pop ups for the price of maybe a handful of conversions. It’s not worth it.

You must resist the temptation to add in pop ups on your website.

Kills user experience

First and foremost, random pop ups completely kill the user experience when they are visiting a webpage.

How many times have you clicked into a website from a Google search to read an article and had a pop up just right out to you for an email sign up or something similar. And I’m willing to bet that it came at an inappropriate time as well. You probably got through at least a couple of paragraphs into the article before it appeared.

But now you’ve lost your place, and you’re annoyed. So why would you do the same to your visitors?

Pop ups are consistently regarded as one of the most annoying parts of websites for this exact reason. They distract the reader at a time when you don’t want to distract them. And if you make them angry or upset, they are going to leave your website. I’ve done it myself, and I’d bet you have too.

There’s a reason pop up blockers exist. Don’t kill the user experience for maybe a handful of conversions.

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Accessibility concerns

Also there are concerns about accessibility and popups. You will likely have a number of users who use a keyboard or screen readers to navigate your website. And sometimes pop ups can interrupt that flow.

Now, there are ways to build accessible pop ups, so there really shouldn’t be any reason why your pop ups (should you choose to use them) should be inaccessible. But there’s another consideration you need to make: cognitive overload.

Referring back to our example earlier, remember how we talked about how pop ups interrupt your reading of the article. Now try to think about that for someone with cognitive or learning disabilities, where maybe it’s difficult to pay attention or learn what’s being said on the page. It can be absolutely frustrating and depressing.

So think about the concerns of your readers and how they might be able to access or digest your content or not if you decide to add in pop ups.

Completely unnecessary

Finally, pop ups are just completely unnecessary these days, at least in my opinion. They are only a tool, and there are other tools in the toolbox you can use.

There are much better ways to get your idea across. The main tool to replace them is a simple callout section on the page. You can put it anywhere in the post or at the bottom of the page with a headline, some text and a call to action button. Simple as that without the need for extra JavaScript or accessibility concerns.

Technically yes, this can interrupt the flow of the article if you place it in the body of the text (like in this article), but it doesn’t catch anyone off guard and it’s easy to just scroll right on by it. There’s no other step you really need to take and you don’t really lose your spot.

Before you even start to think about adding pop ups, see how you might be able to avert that by using other techniques. And you might find yourself with better numbers without making visitors mad.

So really think through whether or not it’s worth it to add pop ups on your website. There’s just too much risk involved from people being annoyed to not being able to read anything to just leaving your website. And there are so many other ways to get your point across to your readers.

Resist the temptation.

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