SIGIA-L Mail Archives: SIGIA-L: How users react to pop-up windo
SIGIA-L: How users react to pop-up windows
From: Lucie Melahn (lucie_at_cloud9.net)
Date: Mon Feb 05 2001 - 16:02:31 EST
We've got a pretty big client that is maintaining a dozen different
projects with our firm right now. Each of the projects has a project
manager assigned on our sign and a PM on their side.
One of the projects is a redesign of the client's public web site. The
client-side PM for this project is pretty web-savvy, and has quite the take
charge personality. she has pretty specific ideas about what she wants us
to build and how it should be done. That's not such a bad thing, but every
now and then she gets fixated on something that may or may not be a good
idea, and it can be hard to change her mind.
prime example: like everyone else these days, the client wants the site to
include "solutions" areas. OK, no problem, right? the client writes up some
copy addressing Business Challenge XYZ, and includes a list of products
that can help solve it.
so here's the snag. The PM has decided that the best way to do this is with
pop-up windows. The user clicks on something (say, a button that says "Our
Solution for Small Businesses"), a window pops up, the user scrolls or
pages through it, then clicks on links of product names. Clicking on the
link causes the main browser page to go to the info for that product.
She is very proud of herself for having come up with this idea, but I am
not thrilled. Like everyone else, I cut my teeth on Jakob Nielson's Top Ten
Mistakes in Web Design, of which number 2 is "Opening new browser windows".
Now, I happen to think there are times when it *is* appropriate to open a
new browser window, such as when you are providing links to other sites and
you don't want the user to leave your own site. However, I seem to recall
hearing substantial anecdotal evidence that opening a small window (the
dreaded pop-up window) is almost always a bad thing. I've heard that users
just close little windows immediately, even before the content downloads,
because it looks like one of those ultra-annoying GeoCities ads. I
definitely do this myself if I have even the remotest suspicion that a
pop-up window is an ad.
The trouble is, I can't seem to find any documentation for what I assume to
be universal hatred of little windows. My client, who is fixated on pop-up
windows, wants to see some studies. I've been poking around for a couple of
hours and can't find anything other than Jakob Nielsen's ten commandments.
has anyone usability tested pop-up windows, or have you seen test results?
I'd like to be able to show my client some real data one way or another.
Lucie Melahn ICE Inc.
Information Architect 250 Park Ave South, 3rd floor
lucie_melahn_at_iceinc.com New York, NY 10003
www.iceinc.com t:212.477.4000, f:212.260.7746
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: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:54:30 EST