User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Upon the launch of say a new social media site - is it appropriate to do a big slide-down / lightbox to explain what the site is about - or to let users figure things out for themselves?


  • Leaves no room for confusion
  • A sense of desperation - "we're new, please help us out!"
  • Should provide an easy exit plus cookies so it doesn't repeat itself for existing users


  • Will act as if the site's already well-established
  • Greater psychological impact (i.e. learning by doing as opposed to being told what to do)
  • Users might get the sense that "this must be a new trend, I need to catch up" and start using it immediately
share|improve this question
They're usually universally annoying. – DA01 Jan 17 '13 at 4:07

If you need it to start, you need it ALL the time -- none of this "upon launch" nonsense. Not everyone will find your site at the same time, and what's a good intro before will be a good intro later.

The real question you should ask is "Do I need [X] to explain the service?" If so, you're going to need it all along, and it's just a matter of whether or not you get out of the more experienced user's way. Doing something big like you're suggesting as an automatically triggered function is not necessary -- and can be annoying for more experienced users.

share|improve this answer

If you're talking about a big pop up as soon as a user loads your site, I would completely advise against it.

Unexpected pop ups associate themselves to bad advertisement practices and would most likely frustrate users.

I would much rather see a well presented header with a "learn about us" button or an introductory video.

share|improve this answer
+1 for pointing out that this practice is associated with spammers -- which doesn't mean it won't work, mind you, but actions that're associated with spam tend to repulse as well. – Rachel Keslensky Jan 17 '13 at 1:25

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.