Published on April 14, 2004

My guidelines for popups

Hey, this post is vintage content. It dates back more than 20 years ago: it may contain outdated and inaccurate information.

When I develop a website, I always try not to use popups.

There’s something in popups that I don’t like: that they’re popups!

Anyway, sometimes, popups are really useful. So I defined some guidelines that I try to respect when I’ve to use them.

Point 1: no differences

The pages that have to become popup windows shouldn’t be different (structurally or in the layout) from any other page of the website. In fact, since not every user agent supports client side scripting and not every user agent can use windows, it’s always necessary to preview the possibility of browsing the site in a single window.

Point 2: no-Javascript possibility

Javascript is not universally present in every browser. Some browser does not support Javascript; some other supports it just partially; some other leaves to the user the choice to stop script execution.

All the pages of a site must be readable also without Javascript.

Point 3: any device

The number of users that surf the Web with devices different from a desktop computer (telephones, tablet PCs, handheld PCs, …) increases every day. Making pages for popups that behave, in particular situations (no Javascript, one-window browser, text-only browser, …), just like any other page of the site is a good way to keep in mind the requirements of these users.

Point 4: no lost windows

Users must never get lost with windows. So, when it’s opportune, popups should close themselves automatically.

As soon as possible I will post a real implementation of these guidelines. In the meantime, every comment is welcome.


A ristretto, please!

February 29, 2004


I am Silvano Stralla. I am a developer, I like taking photos and riding bikes.
If you want, you can write to me at silvano.stralla at
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