Stop Coding This Right Now, part 6: Intrusive Page Alerts

I personally find it very annoying when I first land on a webpage, only to be greeted with the following pop-up announcement, called a “page alert.” They appear right when you load the page and look something like the following images:







Okay, all kidding aside, these page alerts can get mighty annoying for people trying to use websites. They feel like a needless grab for attention, and they can even drive away visitors who would otherwise have stayed on your page to get information.

Why are Page Alerts Annoying?

These days, we all surf the Internet generally looking for information, as quickly as possible. But page alerts slow browsing down–they are a visual shock to the user, because it’s not something most websites do. Shocking websites can be fun, but in this case, the shock is unpleasant.

Not only is this alert disconcerting, but it’s also an inconvenience. Usually, page alerts dim the page behind them and make everything else unclickable until you do something with the alert box itself, either clicking the Close button, filling out the offered form, or clicking “yes/no.” When you put this kind of alert on your website, you’re essentially blocking the user’s ability to access your site until they do what you tell them to. A little bossy and controlling, methinks?

How to Get Your User’s Attention Without Being Annoying

  • Use social media updates. Whatever you have to announce, post it to your Facebook page, tweet about it, etc.–make sure you use all the social media channels you can to get your announcement out there. And put something about it on the main page of your site, too, preferably with differently-formatted text or a small eye-catching graphic.
  • Put short updates as near to the top of the page as possible. Keeping your updates succinct and as visible as possible makes it more likely that people will read them and get the information they need from them.

Simply put, you don’t have to resort to annoying “OMG-look-at-me!!!” tactics to get your visitors’ attention. Actually, the best thing you can do is to provide information clearly, in an easy-to-read format, and make that information accessible in as many ways as possible. Your users will thank you!

One thought on “Stop Coding This Right Now, part 6: Intrusive Page Alerts”

  1. Amen! I hate pop-ups. And, it is terribly annoying when you have to acknowledge it before you can finish what you wanted to in the first place.

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