I'm designing a feature that would show a modal box indicating the amount of virtual money the user has. This is triggered just after the user decides to log in (assuming they have virtual money).

My questions are:

  • How long does the user need to digest what's on the screen after login in until the modal box is shown to the user?
  • What would be on the screen that point in an account summary?
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    This depends, almost entirely, on two areas of knowledge we don't have: what's on the screen that needs to be digested (and what that screen size is and where and when users are looking at it), and everything it's possible to know about those users. – Confused Dec 5 '17 at 6:20
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    You may well have valid reasons for doing so, but my first instinct would be to question why you want a modal box to show this. An in-page indicator (possibly in a status/menu bar of some kind) would be my first-pass choice: always visible (not just when newly logged-in) and doesn't prevent immediate interaction with the rest of the site. – TripeHound Dec 5 '17 at 11:50
  • What's the goal of this interaction? Why the user needs to digest something on the screen before showing the modal? Do you expect to give you direction what to put on your account summary screen? I really don't understand this question, please give more context. – Kristiyan Lukanov Dec 5 '17 at 12:00
  • Yeah, we need at least the basic factors. Like what your app does, what the users are doing, and why you are interrupting your users ; >. Otherwise, are you also using actions? If there wasn't this modal, what would actions would the users take next? You could do the popup when the user does something that indicates they are done with the current screen. – moot Dec 5 '17 at 14:12
  • Surely an 'Account Summary' would include how much virtual money they had. Do you really need the modal? – Andrew Martin Dec 6 '17 at 12:55

I sense that this is not a user initiated action in which case it is wrong.

If this is important information it should be shown by default as soon as the user logs in.

All a modal does is force a user's attention away from the task at hand and into an interaction they don't need.

Modals or light boxes or overlays or slide outs or whatever you want to call them are only really useful as modifier actions on data on a page and little else outside that. Using them to display just information is not a good interaction.

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Don't interrupt me every time.

As a return user, I'd get especially frustrated. After several log-ins, I'd learn the site and know generally where I need to go in order to accomplish my goals. Additionally, I'd learn that I have one of two options:

  1. Wait for ~3-5 seconds for the modal to interrupt me so that I can immediately dismiss it and move on with my business, or

  2. Try and race the invisible timer so I can get away from the modal before it jumps in my face.

Either one of these is going to get pretty annoying pretty fast.

If you really, really need to, consider an onboarding tutorial.

If you're worried a user won't be able to figure out your app (perhaps its sufficiently complex by nature), then consider implementing an onboarding tutorial that guides them through a few of the most important features. Show them where to find their account balance (which seems possibly useful to always show), and other critical information and core features.

Key points to remember for an onboarding tutorial:

  • Keep it short. A walkthrough of every single feature will likely do more to overwhelm the user and discourage them from learning your app than it will to help them use it.
  • Allow them to skip/exit at any time, and resume/restart at any time. It's quite possible they already are familiar with your site or app (perhaps they know someone that has used it) and don't need the tutorial, or maybe they want to try to figure it out on their own first. In either case, tell them where to find the walkthrough later, should they decide they need it.
  • Let them know how to find more in-depth help. The tutorial should help the user get oriented and acquainted with your site/app. If you have an FAQ or Help section, point the user there for further inquiries.
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