Tree House only allows an X to close the "Sign In" popup.

#1 Visual Aid

Should I follow this same strategy? Do users feel worried information is lost if they accidentally click outside the div? Does it feel unprofessional if users can't click outside the div if they change their mind?

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Should a popup/lightbox close when a user clicks outside of the box? – Midas Apr 15 '16 at 16:23
  • @Midas I already know that light boxes and popups should close when a user clicks outside of the box. This question is talking specifically about login. Do users expect the application of login to be different than a typical light box of an image? An image has no user generated content, however, a login can be stopped because of a light box. This is how these two concepts are different... – Cøde Play Apr 15 '16 at 16:46
  • Interesting question. It's worth asking your users, or do a coffee-shop research expedition. – Mayo Apr 15 '16 at 17:29

I personally would get frustrated if clicking outside the div doesn't work. Even though the x is marked with a red box, it might not draw enough attention. Or get caught offscreen on a mobile device.

If the sign in option is easy to find (and it seems to be on your tree house example), you could always click it again to re-open the pop up.

What about someone accidentally clicking the sign in link? They might feel stuck if they do not (for some reason) notice the x and can not get out by clicking outside the div as they expect.


The close button is a standard pattern that most users recognise and can use - as is clicking out the modal to close it.

The question is: what's more frustrating for your user? Trying to find a close button or losing the information you just took the time to enter into the form because you accidentally clicked outside the modal?

I would say the latter simply because there is an investment from the user that is lost. According to Fitt's Law it's also a lot easier to accidentally click outside the modal than it is to accidentally click the login link.


X strategy is not a good idea because when user see a popup with X then he or she close it immediately without reading content. Most of users automatically close the popup with X button so click outside would be a better solution but the best solution should be not using of popups according to

Users have commented that unsolicited windows or graphics that ‘pop up’ are annoying and distracting when they are focusing on completing their original activity.

from Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines

To lower the risk of loss information I advise to make the popup bigger

  • You make great points, but I think you're getting the wrong idea. This popup is to "Login." Users may hate popups, but they love logging in more than they hate popups. By the way, users don't hate popups, they hate the content of popups. – Cøde Play Apr 15 '16 at 22:26
  • thx for feedback I just want to help. I think that close on outside is good. Why? User search for X button didn't find it and read the content and accidentally click outside and then discover that is a way to close a popup. Another argument is that X button is small but outside space is big so it is effective, user can close hardly anywhere. This is intuitive – Grisza Apr 15 '16 at 22:51

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