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We are developing a SaaS application that is currently in beta testing. Our clients are not end users but B2B, so in the beta they have asked us if we could add a pop-up that will ask end users to indicate their status (status A, status B or status C). This status will be included in monthly statistics as pie chart with a percentage for each status.

As a front end developer, I think asking for a status every month with a pop-up is a very bad thing. We do not want end users to hate our product because we torment them with these pop-ups.

What is your opinion and what should be clever?

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By popups, do you mean modals or popovers? (See: twitter.github.io/bootstrap/javascript.html) Or do you mean popups as in <a target="_new">? –  epw Jun 28 '13 at 13:23
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I mean modals that overlays on the hole content. –  ascotto Jun 28 '13 at 13:33
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2 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

A good rule of thumb is that you should only-when-necessary corner users into one action. Ask: "Can the user explore and perform other tasks without this input?"

Because popups (I'll call them modals here) inhibit interactivity with other elements on the page, this rule of thumb applies. So unless updating the status is essential to some immediate part of the experience, I would use a less-obtrusive means.

Other ideas:

  • Static popovers
  • Inline alerts or notifications
  • Corner modals (similar to Facebook's bottom-left Notification widget)
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Yes, @Eric is right. Do not force the users to answer immediately, even if it's a single click in a radio button. It should be something in the UI telling the user thet the system wants them to tell the status, and a brief "thanks" when they enter the data. Also you would need a policy for the cases where the user didn't enter the status. If you want to press them then kindly remember then at login time that the system is waiting a response. Don't say they didn't do, only say what the system wants, else you are accusing them. –  Juan Lanus Jun 28 '13 at 16:16
    
Thanks all for your answers. Maybe a good solution will be to ask the user status at registration process, and then ask them with an inline method like so: "Hello, have you changed status?" or "Hello, is your status the same?" For me the best method will be to not implement this but, we should right balance between B2B and end-users. –  ascotto Jun 28 '13 at 17:46
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The tradeoff between getting good statistics vs good user experience should be examined when considering introducing intrusive UIs like Popups. I think you have a very valid concern.

That being said, let's assume the statistics are very important... Instead of a new window popup, I'd do something like a modal container that's within the page. I've seen some news websites that would require a user to answer questions before they can read a news article. I think it's good to ask user to do something for you before you start a task to minimize interruptions.

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