Jacob Nielsen just proclaimed the lightbox the “interaction design technique of the year“:
In UI terms, a lightbox draws the user’s attention to a dialog box, error message, or other design element in the middle of the screen by dimming the rest of the screen.
Yes, the lightbox has some benefits. It shows you an Important Message within the context of the page you were just looking at. It doesn’t get blocked by popup killers. And it looks super-cool, especially when used as a slideshow.
But lightboxes are starting to crop up everywhere. In my Yahoo mail (I hope the developer got paid a lot for that), in half the applications I interact with, even in my own website (OK, I put it there, but that was 2 years ago when it was very cool and cutting edge).
Is anyone else starting to suffer from lightbox fatigue?