We are developing a new component for our flash application which displays HTML news popups before the application loads. These popups are typical modal window style popups which may contains random bits of info OR an actual call-to-action, like purchase this special or play this new game. We are able to configure/filer which popups are shown to which users based on various factors.

My first concern is that they want to queue these popups, so if the user is legible for 5 popups they will be shown one after the next (as he closes them) until they are all shown. The next concern is that they want to continue showing the remainder of the unshown popups even if the user click on one of the call-to-actions.

On both accounts this seems like a bad user experience but I don't have anything concrete to justify my concerns, if this seems like a terrible approach please let me know why so I can propose an alternative with valid justification.

  • 1
    +1 I believe your concerns are totally justified. System triggered popups, multiple sequences of them at that, is a recipe for a bad user experience. Jul 19, 2012 at 14:09

1 Answer 1


Popups are almost always a bad idea if they are system triggered. The only time really that it's justified is if the popup demands user action within a limited time frame or similar, eg. like an incoming call or save before closing application popups.

The user is probably more interested in using your service than being exposed to an unknown number of purchase offers.

I would really recommend that you communicate these concerns to the rest of your team where you push the fact that users will find flows of system based popups annoying when they're using your service.

A much more calm and gentile approach is to have a clearly visible indicator that communicates to the user when there are new unread notifications available for them. When the user initiates that they want to view these notifications it's definitely ok to have them shown in a modal window. However, I would rather see that you find a solution where all notifications are grouped in the same window enabling the user to cycle through them rather than opening a new modal window with a new notification when the user has closed the previous one. Clearly showing how many notifications there are yields closure to the users as they will know how many notifications they "have to" see before they've seen them all.

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