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Pop-Up Notifications for Government Websites

Website pop-up boxes are those annoying ads that come up when you’re shopping online. No one likes them. Ethan Zuckerman, the man who invented pop-up ads, even publicly apologized, acknowledging how frustrating they can be to website users. If they are annoying as ads for business websites, what relevance could pop-up boxes possibly have for government sites?

Because notification pop-ups for websites are often frustrating for users, site owners have developed best-practices for using pop-ups. This is because despite the frustrations they cause, pop-ups are actually a very effective way of connecting with site visitors. However, there are a few ways to use notification pop-ups for websites that help keep website visitors informed, without annoying them.

All pop-up boxes should be easy for users to click out of. In the past, pop-up boxes would be hard to exit out of. Then, if users could close them they were set up on a timer to appear again minutes later.

Hard to close, or reappearing pop-up boxes will interrupt the experience of website visitors. This may cause them to leave the site without returning. This may also happen when pop-up boxes obscure too much of the page. User’s want a hassle free website experience; this means pop-up boxes should be easy to close.

Uses for Government Organizations

While these may be helpful tips for how to make pop-up advertisements for businesses, the question still remains what purpose do pop-ups have on government websites. All pop-up notifications remain frustrating and useless, unless they are actually relevant to the site user. Often websites have Call-To-Action, or CTA pop-up notifications, to prompt users to do something on the site. For businesses this may mean signing up for email notifications or subscribing to a newsletter.

For government website pop-up notifications are best saved for making important announcements. Given the current cultural climate, coronavirus pop-up notifications, could be useful. A well thought out pop-up notification can help municipalities and other government organizations keep residents informed. These notifications should contain the most recent and relevant information about changes.

However, this does not mean that these notifications cannot also include calls to action. COVID 19 pop-up notifications can include links to relevant sites like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This will help ensure residents are also aware of the recommendations for safety being made by medical professionals.

The GovUnity team has already helped many of our clients by updating their websites with coronavirus notifications. We would love to help you too! For more tips on how to use your website to keep people informed during these unprecedented times take a look at some of our most recent blog posts.


Are you looking to create a new website for your municipality? Or update an existing site? GovUnity focuses on working with clients to create accessible and easy to navigate websites for a variety of government organizations. Contact GovUnity to learn more.