A question that frequently comes up during web site design and implementation projects is if and when to use pop up windows. When I refer to pop up windows, I am not referring to the light boxes or other dialogs that display to ask a question that you need to answer to continue or cancel a process. Instead I am referring to popping up little (or large) windows that contain additional necessary information to continue or supplement what is going on within the context of what the user is currently doing. So, the simple answer of when to use pop ups is: virtually never. But if you choose to use them, here are some of the basic pitfalls to avoid:
- Not including browser controls in a pop up window.
- Putting links in a small pop up window.
- Putting a large amount of content in a tiny pop up window.
- Breaking the user flow (and back button) by launching new windows with every click of the mouse.
- Search engines will not index the content.
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