Saturday, October 20, 2007

More popup talk

When I talk about popup windows, I am referring to the kind that appear unexpectedly and uninvited when you least expect it. They fill the whole screen, or nearly so. They interrupt your train of thought. They actually attack you. They have one purpose: to put the high-pressure sales pitch on you.

We have discussed how some businesses—like big-city new car dealers—treat their customers like they were a piece of meat to be devoured, giving no thought to the feelings or humanity of the customer. All they see are dollar signs. I hope you have decided not to be like this with your online business.

One of the rudest things you can do, if it is your object to be rude, is to use big ol’ nasty popup windows on your website for things other than the helpful amplification of information. The kind of popup we are talking about takes over the whole page and tries to manipulate the customer or beat them into submission. It doesn’t offer unobtrusive and helpful information--often you don’t even have to click on anything for the popup to appear in all its blinking rude glory.

When you start to read the message on the homepage of a website, and you get to the second sentence, and a huge offensive popup window opens on top of the information you are reading, what does that say to you? What does it say about the person who wants you to spend your money with them? What does it say about their opinion of you and your feelings?

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