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Pop-up: 10 mistakes to avoid a bad user experience.

Web Design,Freelance,SEO

Pop-ups have been used for decades and are in most cases not appreciated by Internet users. Indeed, they strongly penalize the user experience. In 95% of the cases, they are immediately closed as soon as they are displayed.

However, pop-ups are very effective to increase our lead base, to make ads or to ask for the opinion of Internet users. This effectiveness is only proven if and only if the pop-ups are designed in the right way.

Let's look at the mistakes you should avoid. You'll discover that when it comes to pop-ups, it's all about good timing.

General note: Google penalizes sites that use practices that make content less accessible to users, especially on mobile screens.


What is your opinion about pop-ups? Do you use them?
A- Yes, I use pop-ups because they are effective.
B- I avoid using them.
C- I hate pop-ups, I never use them.
Give me your opinion in comments!


Popup & Timing

  1. Show a pop-up before you see the content
  2. Show a pop-up right after registration
  3. Ask for an email address before you even see the content
  4. Ask the visitor for feedback before interacting with the content
  5. Ask for the visitor's opinion during a critical task
  6. Show several pop-ups one after the other
  7. Show a pop-up before moving to a new subdomain
  8. Interrupt the visitor while reading a blog post
  9. Show a pop-up for GDPR & Cookie Consent
  10. Suggest to the visitor to switch to the mobile application


1. show a pop-up before you see the content

Regardless of the variant used, a pop-up should never appear before users have had time to take advantage of your website or application.

This trend is very intrusive as users' task is interrupted even before they land on the page. People have become accustomed to seeing premature pop-ups on websites and usually ignore them or immediately look for the fastest way to close it.

💎Solution: Add a reasonable delay of for example 180 seconds so that your visitor has time to show interest in your content.

The only use case where it is acceptable to display some type of pop-up window before the page content loads is when your site is legally required to ask for users' consent to accept the use of cookies or verify their age.

Not to be imitated: https://www.uncommongoods.com/

2. Show a pop-up right after registration

A pop-up that is displayed right after the user logs in is just as annoying as a pop-up that is displayed before the page content loads.

When users log into their account, they have a particular step or subsequent task in mind - otherwise why would they log in! In addition, they are likely to be frustrated by the interruption, the extra time and the cost of the interaction required to close the pop-up or move it.

💎Solution: Give users the time and space to complete their tasks after logging into their account. So don't show pop-up windows right away.

As a general rule, always favor less intrusive methods, such as tooltips, to communicate these elements.

To imitate: https://webflow.com/

3. Ask for an email address before you even see the content

Many sites and apps use pop-ups to ask for users' email addresses before they have a chance to interact with the content. E-commerce, news and blog sites and apps are the biggest offenders in this category.

This approach is problematic, because not only are users annoyed by it, but it gives the visitor the impression that the newsletter will be less qualitative and will land in the SPAM box.

💎Solution : Rather than displaying email pop-ups from the start, think about when users are most comfortable sharing their email address.

Not to be imitated: https://www.wildsouls.gr/en

4. Ask for the visitor's opinion before interacting with the content

Getting feedback from your users is important, but you shouldn't flood people with requests for feedback before they've done anything on your site. More often than not, users will quickly close the pop-up, with no intention of checking it again.

💎Solution: Ask users for feedback immediately after completing an important task on your site. This approach minimizes interruptions and ensures that the feedback will be based on real interaction.

For example, the video conferencing software asks users for feedback after a meeting has ended.

5. Seek input from the visitor during a critical task

Users hate being interrupted. Yet, there are many examples of websites and applications that annoy users with feedback pop-ups in the middle of critical tasks. Most of the time, giving feedback is not the main reason for your users to visit, so don't bother them with pop-ups in the middle of critical tasks either.

💎Solution: In addition to asking users to give feedback only after critical tasks are completed, offer them a static, non-intrusive way to give feedback, whenever they want. A tab on the side of the screen, a link in the footer or a link in the navigation are all acceptable alternatives.

Not to be imitated: in a CRM, you create a new contact and the tool asks you to leave a review.

6. Show several pop-ups one after the other

Displaying multiple pop-ups on top of each other makes your site look unprofessional, desperate and disorganized.

It also overwhelms users and forces them to make efforts to close each one.

💎Solution: If you need to present critical information (e.g., warnings, announcements, news) in a pop-up window, make sure you only show one at a time.

Not to be imitated: https://www.uncommongoods.com/

7. Show a pop-up before moving to a new subdomain

Display a pop-up before the user moves to a new subdomain or external site: some corporate websites link to content or applications that live on subdomains and external sites.

Before users leave the main site, a pop-up appears to warn them of the impending transition. This type of pop-up is problematic because it puts too much emphasis on the transition, making users feel lost and confused, especially if the subsites open in a new browser tab.

💎Solution: remove pop-ups, minimize transitions between sites and always keep navigation to the main site when you link users to external properties.

For example, if your users need to be notified when they leave your site, use a less intrusive option, like a tooltip on the link, to make the transition more subtle.

Not to be imitated: https://www.uncommongoods.com/

8. Interrupt the visitor while reading a blog post

A pop-up that appears immediately after loading an article or other long-form content item (such as those typically found in the "About Us" or "News" sections of websites) gives the impression that the site is conditioning access to that content.

💎Solution : Allows users to consume content immediately, without interruption. Replaces the pop-up window with a thin, easy to remove banner at the top of the page.

9. Show a pop-up for the GDPR & Cookie Consent

Users already hastily reject pop-ups because they assume nothing good will come of them. To communicate important information related to GDPR and the use of cookies.

💎Solution: favor thin banners placed at the bottom or side of the page. They are much less intrusive and allow users to continue with their tasks.

Ensures that sufficient information is provided about how users' personal data is collected and used.

Example: https://www.uber.com/be/fr/

10. Suggest to the visitor to switch to the mobile application

It's common to see pop-ups that encourage switching from a mobile website to an associated mobile app - especially on e-commerce or news websites.

These overlays are disruptive and problematic in many situations: often, Internet users are one-time users who have no interest in downloading an application for an occasional task.

💎Solution: Raises awareness of your organization's mobile app, but not at the cost of intruding on the user's current task. Favors unobtrusive approaches, such as a standard top banner, and emphasizes the benefits of using the app to ease the transition to that channel.


You may be wondering when it's acceptable to use pop-ups; the answer is: sparingly. Resist the urge to follow the crowd and don't inundate your users with interruptions to reinforce short-term metrics. Explore alternative approaches that respect your users' needs and preserve your business's intent to collect feedback, inform users of data collection, acquire email addresses or encourage channel transitions.


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