“Please, go ahead.”
With great responsibility, should come great respect. You, as the developer, are responsible for delivering a product or service that users will need to put up with, whether that be yourself or others. While not always practical or entirely possible, you should aim to respect the user. This could stretch across different categories, like ease of use and avoiding intrusive UX. Think about those websites that show five modals and three different popups asking you to subscribe to their newsletters.
The previous “Fundamentals” Integration Testing posts all focus on this central theme of respect, to a degree. For example, keeping the user informed through responsive design, solid and efficient UX design, ease of use through elements of UI design, and including users who use accessibility tools, is all part of the very broad idea of respect. Lack of deception and transparency is one of the most important aspects, like informing the user of what their data is actually used for.
Of course, sometimes respecting a user’s “personal space” online is not entirely feasible. For example, in driving online “conversions” (user onboarding or registrations) you may want to push popups or modals asking users to take some action. Alternatively, perhaps the user is using a content blocker, which cuts into your site revenue, and you want them to disable it before accessing your site. Where you draw the line is very subjective. For example, some people argue for content blockers because of the numerous sites that overstep “personal space” boundaries in the first place – shoving ads on screen completely disregarding the user, only wanting clicks – but some people will disable them on pages with tastefully positioned ads.
Am I telling everyone everywhere to immediately stop using forced modals because I don’t like them? Definitely not. Each website has its own model that works, and perhaps I’m missing statistics for certain types of websites that show that highly intrusive behavior with three or more popups on a single page is, in fact, effective. What I do want to see is more developers actively considering the user, user retention, and experience of their software rather than carelessly jamming in as much “content” as possible. No matter where you draw the line, at one, three, five, or no popups, a thought-out user experience will benefit everyone involved.