As much as I share the hate, we need to do a better job of talking about alternatives.
"I’m sure they’re effective."
And you want me to tell my project manager not to use them? Let's get realistic, if something can be better designed to convert as well or better, then let's share that info. Otherwise, what am I going to tell my boss?
If there's data on how these negatively affect a site or data on better alternatives, share it!
Totally agreed. I know clients that absolutely love these pop-ups to collect email addresses because they provide such a high return rate.
We do need a better alternative in order to persuade them because Google Analytics is showing them that this technique is "working" really well.
It's like trying to take a pot of gold away from a leprechaun.
I'd love to hear an alternative to the signup modal.
Anecdotally, as someone who has experimented with these overlays, they do convert incredibly well. On the flip side I've never talked with anybody that liked them.
Samuel Hulick and I had a discussion on Signal Tower about these modals. Our conclusion was that they may get conversions at the top of the funnel, but that retention and Ill will may hurt down the road.
Edit. Reference: http://signaltower.co/samuel-hulick-user-onboarding/
I encountered this position with a client not too long ago. The incumbent design was a modal popup/overlay like the article references -- converted reasonably well, but users hated it and it felt sleazy and off-brand. The challenge was to implement something that didn't drive users crazy, and converted as well (or better). I designed several treatments which we tested against the incumbent design -- we ended up with something like this: http://dribbble.com/shots/1121315-slide-in-prompt
Would be curious to see other alternatives people have tried, especially if they have conversion data (anecdotal or otherwise).
That's an interesting (and slick) treatment. Was it successful in terms of returning the expected conversions (or comparable to what the previous modal was doing)?
I understand that these overlays can be frustrating, but here's the thing: when anybody offers content online, an exchange of some kind takes place. The user is provided with content, and in exchange they need to pay for that content somehow. Obviously the user doesn't want to pay for the content they're receiving, just as I'd much prefer to walk out of a supermarket having paid nothing at all for my week's shopping. However, I wouldn't argue that the supermarket checkout is "bullshit", even though it'd certainly be a lot easier for me to just walk right out of the store.
In the case of these websites, the user is receiving content that another person has worked hard on. The content has value. As part of the exchange, the user is essentially being asked to pass through the equivalent of a checkout before being able to enjoy the content. The overlays are effective because they block the user from the content, which creates the impression of some kind of extremely permeable paywall (in which you "pay" by offering feedback or signing up for a mailing list etc). Any subtler solution would simply be ignored by the user, who would then extract the value from the content provided without offering the content provider any compensation.
Design isn't always about serving the end user. Sometimes it's about figuring out the terms of the exchange between the party offering a good or service and the party consuming it. Go into any real world environment and you'll find a lot of "bullshit" that blocks people from accessing goods and services they haven't paid for.
I agree with you to a large extent, Brad does pretty well following the no bullshit line but sadly while everyone talks about ux being the end-all of a site, there's stuff like this that doesn't neatly fit into some arguments.
My main overriding annoyance with modals like this is not always that they're trying to collect data but that they're so scattergun in their approach.
Often they'll be asking me to rate their content on a first visit or sign up to a newsletter when I've never visited their site.
I'd love to see companies experimenting with more relevant and appropriate targeting to see how much better that works out for both business and users.
This needs to get upvoted to eternity, even UX Magazine (sic!) does that bullshit.
I remember when UX Mag had a nice design :(
Oh yes, me too. Remember when it was a way more useful read as well.
The worst are full page ads like on Forbes.com.
Also make sure to watch Brad Frost's Creative Mornings talk about bullshit.
I'm showing popup after downloading a Freebie. http://web3canvas.com/item/flat-and-minimal-signup-and-login-form-page-psd/
How about that? Do I need to avoid that?