My credit union (which, by the way, is a terrific organisation that employs excellent customer service staff) has recently launched a fancy new website that’s mostly very pleasant to use. But there’s one thing I think they’re doing very wrong: using modal windows to advertise their products.
It’s been a much-discussed trend in web interface design lately, littering sites with these windows that require users to take some action before they can get on with what they came to do. They do look pretty nifty and have their uses – they can work really well for quickly displaying full-sized versions of thumbnail images, for instance. In fact, I’m planning to have a (user-initiated) modal on my website, so I’m certainly not against them in principle.
But when they’re used for advertising, they really do suck – it’s the ultimate form of “interruption marketing” because users can’t get on with anything else until they’ve interacted with the ad in some way. On a banking site, which existing customers use on a daily basis to accomplish specific tasks, that’s an even bigger sin.
When my credit union started using modals to advertise credit cards a couple of months ago, I wrote to them with a polite objection. They sent me a prompt reply, which was great, but they didn’t really seem to be taking in what I was saying. They pointed out that there was a cookie preventing anyone seeing the ad more than once (fair enough, but some people disable cookies, and maybe once is one too many). And they went on to tell me again how wonderful the credit card was. So I guess they think it’s OK to interrupt people if the product you’re selling is good.
This week I see the modal ads are back, this time advertising mortgages. What do you think – am I being a drama queen, or do you agree that this is really not on for a financial institution?
Photo credit: House of Sims