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I'm working for an e-commerce client who has requested a design for a newsletter signup modal to appear on page load the second time a user visits the site. I've tried to explain to them that blocking a users progress with a popup wall which forces them to click is bad UX, that modals should be triggered by a user action and not just by arriving somewhere and that there are ways to display this sign up that won't annoy users.

Are there more concrete figures/studies I can point to that help make avoiding this a bit more straight forward? They heard it "isn't so bad" from an "ECRM industry expert" and I'm pretty sure ECRM will beat poor old UX unless I get some support.

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Jakob Nielsen warns about using automatic popups (even though old javascript popups aren't technically the same thing as modal windows, they have the same basic function) - http://www.nngroup.com/articles/most-hated-advertising-techniques/.

These surveys are based on ads and not regular site content, but I think that there's a big chans that the users will see anything that pops up as something annoying (ads etc.) and just click it away.

This is another thread discussing a similar problem.

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There seems to be a common misconception that different apps should have different UX.
I contend that what is good for ECRM is also good for a supply chain application.
Ask them if they would like different UX design in Work versus Excel.

Find some standard guideline to support that UX design.
I personally don't like modal.
I found this in some Microsoft UX guidelines.
USguide.pdf

Ask questions carefully Avoid asking unessential questions using modal dialogs—prefer modeless alternatives. Better yet, the current context can reveal the user's intent, often eliminating the need to ask at all. If you must ask a question in your UI, express it in terms of users' goals and tasks, not in terms of technology. Provide options that users understand (again, phrased in terms of goals and tasks, not technology) and clearly differentiate. Make sure to provide enough information for users to make informed decisions.

I personally don't think industry experts should be designing the UI. They have expertise in in the field and not UX. I get so frustrated when I ask for a function requirement and get back a screen design.

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