Using pop-ups as a UX element

by | Jul 21, 2022 | User Experience

So, are pop-ups a useful website tool or a UX serial killer?

You enter a website, and there it is:

“Join our community NOW and get 10% off your first order!”

Like it or hate it (and most people, including developers, hate it), the pop-up is a tool used to grab a site visitor’s attention. In many cases, the goal is that they enter their email address to start a promotional email relationship – rather than the alternative: clicking on the (very, very small and very, very faint) ‘Close’ button.

Pop-ups are called ‘interruption marketing’ for a reason.

Question is, are they user experience (UX) serial killers?

The pop-up is the website salesperson

No one likes to be trampled by salespeople when entering a store. The same goes for pop-ups. The moment they bombard the user, you risk ending up in the user’s browser history. Sayonara, sale!

At InteractRDT we believe that the difference between joining the Sad Browser History Club and entering the Promised Land of Bookmarked Tabs lies in the user’s experience (both interactively and emotionally).

In essence, it’s all about how the pop-up is presented.

But do pop-ups actually do the work?

They sure do. A Sumo analysis of over 2 billion pop-ups reveals that a good pop-up with good context has a conversion rate of over 40%. But your content means nothing if it doesn’t relay the message you want to communicate. If your context is off, you’ll only annoy the user.

For example, if you have an ecommerce website selling homeware, it won’t help to add a homepage pop-up offering a discount on dish rags – because your visitor may be browsing or looking for something specific, like Tupperware (bearing in mind that most households have a Tupperware situation).

It makes more sense to place the pop-up on the ‘Kitchen Linen’ category page, where it will target the sales of specific, relevant products. This way, visitors are more likely to interact according to relevance rather than avoidance and your pop-up goes from sales pitch to useful UX tool.

How to use pop-ups as a solid UX element

  • Context: Align what you’re aiming to achieve (context) with the message (content).
  • Strategic placement: A browsing visitor won’t want to be sold to before knowing what you’re selling. Get your pop-up timing and location right to avoid jumping the gun.
  • Gentle sales pitch: Human and robot sales can have the same horrid smell of desperation. Try to be less pushy and show more personality and personability.
  • Value: Free templates, handy tips, loyalty coupons, and ebooks show that you’re giving before expecting to receive sales. This builds trust.
  • Research: Compare your ideal visitor with your current visitor persona and explore ways to improve your pop-ups to match their UX needs.

Or let us do it for you. It’s what we do at InteractRDT.


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