RE: [Sigia-l] how user-initiated pop-ups affect the user experience
From: Karl Groves (kgroves_at_nasafcu.com)
> 1. Up-to-the-minute numbers on user attitudes toward
During July 2003, we placed a survey on our website to get members' impressions of our website.
Although it lacks any hard data, Sean Kenney outlines a strong case against pop-ups.
>From an accessibility standpoint, pop-ups area hideous inconvenience people on screen readers and those who use a keyboard to navigate. User-spawned pop-ups *can be* made more accessible, but mostly it is still a new window with a "Back" button that no longer works to get them back to where they are.
Pop-up blockers are definitely causing a problem with these "legitimate" new windows. We're seeing an increasing amount of complaints about our online mortgage application, which opens in a new window. Users with pop-up blockers get a blank screen and therefore cannot access the application at all. Ultimately, it is my opinion that NO NEW WINDOWS should ever be opened. We are taking steps to eliminate all new windows on this site, focusing instead on streamlining IA so that a new window is not necessary.
Additionally, I should mention another way to do this. Basically, you write the popup's link with a "document.write". Then, within your <noscript> element, you write a redundant link. This is the method we're using to fix the problem with the mortgage application.
Anyway, here's the article:
Among the many concerns of accessible design is found in "Guideline 6" of the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines:
Popups are among the items that most often violate this accessibility guideline
In the first case, using "#" as the hypertext reference will result, at best, in their being taken to the top of the page. The "#" sign is interpreted as what's known as a "Fragment Identifier Separator" ( see geekspeak at - http://www.w3.org/Addressing/URL/4_2_Fragments.html ). What this means to us is that the "#" is supposed to point somewhere, such as a named object on the page. It is not a default "Do Nothing" character. The hash symbol prepends the name of the target. So that Contact me will take you to a place on the page that is named "contact" - <a name="contact"></a>
Using just plain "#" as the hypertext reference is bad because "A void fragment-id with or without the hash sign means that the URL refers to the whole object." In most browsers, it will be interpreted as pointing back to the beginning of the page. At best, it will do nothing when clicked.
It can be done better and work well for all
<a href="file.html" onclick="window.open('file.html', 'window_name', 'toolbar=yes, location=yes, status=yes, menubar=yes, scrollbars=yes, resizable=yes, width=xxx, height=xxx'); return false"> Open Window </a>
Now, here's the treat:
The use of the word "Close" might be confusing, but there are two schools of thought here.
Ultimately, this comes down to what you hear me say so often: You cannot reliably predict the user or their settings. So don't try. Make it right and it will be usable to all.
Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox: The Top Ten New Mistakes of Web Design - http://www.useit.com/alertbox/990530.html
Karl L. Groves, Certified Master CIW Designer
Opinions expressed in this e-mail represent only myself and are not in any way to be taken as the words or opinions of my employer.
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