Should I Use A Pop Up Window?

According to usability expert Jakob Nielson, 95% of website visitors absolutely hate with a passion unexpected or unwanted pop-up windows, especially those that contain unsolicitaed advertising. Infact, it is the Number 1 Most Hated Advertising Technique!

It’s pretty inconvenient then to find that pop-ups can increase subscription conversions on a blog like this one, by over a whopping 50% when used, as I do sometimes.

Creating a new browser window should be the authority of the user only. Do not try to pop-up new windows to clutter the user’s screen.

All links should open in the same window by default. An exception, however, may be made for pages containing a links list. It is convenient in such cases to open links in another window, so that the user can come back to the links page easily.

Even in such cases, it is advisable to give the user a prior note that links would open in a new window.

Pop Up Window Tips:

  • Tell visitors they are about to invoke a pop up window (using the link <title> attribute)
  • Popup windows do not work in all browsers.
  • They are disorienting for users
  • Provide the user with an alternative.

UK Government recommendations:

‘All links must open in the same window by default’

Guidelines for UK Government websites
Illustrated handbook for Web management teams

Further Reading

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