Cheesy popover lightboxes bite into customer experience

Recently, after a long day in Taskmaster Towers, your humble correspondent decided to order a pizza.

 

Of course, not one to regularly indulge in junk food, Old Taskmaster decided to take a look at the website of the friendly local pizza shop in Parts Unknown.

 

It turns out they had recently redecorated their website. It looked quite spiffy. Unfortunately, that was the problem.

 

This pizza shop’s website included a popover lightbox (some people know these things as a modal window) that demands the user either enter their username and password or sign up for a free Parts Unknown pizza account.

 

There is no third option.

 

Greyed out underneath this popover was the regular website with all the information someone ordering a pizza might want to access. This included things like the menu, links to this shop’s Facebook and Twitter pages, what appeared to be a Google Map pointing out where in Parts Unknown this pizza shop is located, and the like.

 

There was one itsy bitsy, teeny weeny problem with this popover. There was no immediately apparent way to close it – at least without logging in or creating an account.

 

There was no cross on the top right-hand corner to click – nor for that matter was there one on any other corner. No close link or button. Clicking on the greyed out background didn’t make it go away. Neither did clicking an empty area in the popover. Hitting reload didn’t either – the popover returned when you did.

 

Setting up an account involved another popover where you had to enter your name, address, phone number (home and mobile), email, credit card number, credit card expiry and credit card expiry. All these fields were marked as mandatory.

 

In other words, the kind of information you really wouldn’t feel safe giving out to someone who can’t work out how to put a close button on a popover. Seriously, if they don’t know what a close button is, would you trust them to properly salt and hash a database with credit card information?!

 

As it turns out, Old Taskmaster’s whole purpose in visiting their website in the first place was to see what specials they offer. Sometimes they offer a free garlic bread and bottle of soft drink when you order two large pizzas. Sometimes the special is pick-up only. Other times, you get a free lasagne and they’ll deliver.

 

Given this, how friggin’ obnoxious is it to demand a credit card upfront?! Seriously, when was the last time you went to a supermarket or a fashion store and they took your credit card before you even had a chance to have a look at their merchandise?! Sometime around about never, right?! Well, that’s what this pizza shop was demanding!

 

Now, some people will be screaming at their computer: “Taskmaster, why not just block javascript?!” Well, Old Taskmaster tried that. Their website broke altogether!

 

Thankfully, there was a simple workaround for all these annoyances: Visiting the website of the other pizza shop down the road.

 

Now, take a look at your website. Popovers have their place in web design – just make sure they don’t drive away your customers! If your site has anything half as obnoxious on it as this pizza shop’s popover, make sure you get rid of it!

 

Get it done – today!

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