Are Popups Ruining Your User Experience?

I’ve seen many a conversation about popups that relayed a negative vibe about the feature. Between bad accessibility, hiding content, breaking the navigation flow, and drawing user attention away from the page, I could not be more convinced that popups were the epitome of terrible UX. However, I stopped for a second to think about a case I experienced when reviewing several sites in the past week. Although the sites were super-sexy and looked awesome, I had a hard time navigating my way through some of the features and tasks. It certainly happens, even with the best looking and thought-out websites. That’s why, in this case, I thought that popups, especially help popups, whether chat or navigation, are the best experience that a user can have. The fact that a user is taken away from the already confusing page to the help popup makes them assured that they will be assisted during their time of confusion. This type of content cuts the visuals layout of the confusing experience to grab the user’s attention – that’s the aim of these features. Now, I know you are going to think to yourself and/or comment to me, “well, why doesn’t the ux designer fix the problem in the first place?” Sure, the designer can go ahead and do that. But, no website or application is intuitive enough to cater to every user. Websites and applications are bound to attract users that get stuck. In most cases, those users are less likely to go to your help page or FAQ page, which in my opinion is useless and a waste of time for users through which to sift. In any case, if you are going to pursue any type of popup, there are a few factors to consider. Sabina Pawlus, Usability Expert at Cint, shares with us today the following: 1.     Understand Pain Points Before implementing a popup to your website or application, you need to understand and check what pain points this type of feature will alleviate, what it will be used for, and how it will be used. 2. Test Different Prototypes It’s always beneficial to check out different prototypes and how your users are interacting with them. After that, you will have a better understanding of whether the feature is useful or not. If so, you will be able to choose a prototype that will be accepted well among your users. 3.     Make the Feature Visible Yaniv Bahat, UI and UX Specialist, agrees with Sabina and adds that the popup should be visible enough for the user to see. That way, when the user feels like he or she needs to use the feature, they are aware of where to find the assistance. If you are going to pursue adding a popup feature to your website or application, keep these factors in mind before implementing them. Remember, creating experiences that make people feel great is crucial to your success as a business or website. So, before you jump to the conclusion that a specific feature is bad UX, truly sit and think if and what value it may add in the shoes of your users.