Pop-ups and splash screens
We never ask ourselves about the statistics how many new web sites we visit. As the Internet grows, our demand for information increases and we become "hunters". We sign up to new web sites, newsletters, services, RSS and others to stay on track. But is all information truly accessible?
Many web pages show pop-up windows or splash screens the first time they are loaded by the visitor. There are surveys, polls, blinking advertisements about products, win-a-gift games, loaders that never end and others fighting for our attention.
Most pop-ups are so annoying, that they are immediately closed by the user. But only if he could locate the tiny close button. There are two implications in this case: (1) the user can't see the expected content immediately due to an intrusive layer and (2) he needs to figure out how to close something he never opened. This confuses him and wastes his time.
Some people argue that a pop-up is suitable in order to receive user feedback. I don't share this opinion. A pop-up is just another window, and it's unclear why one domain request should initiate many concurrent activities. Which of them are higher priority ones? I prefer polls embedded directly on the web page.
Some designers try to impress users with fancy Flash graphics or animations before showing them any web page content. But the user may not have the Flash plug-in preinstalled or not know how to install it. Such splash screens are slow to load, adding again a layer between the user and the content. The visitor often loses control due to being unable to do anything during the loading process.
There are also other arguments against using these approaches. You are warned.