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Why Modal Windows Have Replaced Popup Windows is mildly interesting.


Apparently this is what passes for user experience design -- sans user testing.


Have you ever noticed how nobody cites the test, user research, or scenario for a desirable user experience? Sans user UX.


The article cites the criticism of modals as bad design as designers simply using them the wrong way -- never giving instruction, guidelines, or even a hunch as to when to use, and not use an in-page modal.


Strangely enough, that basic assumption -- that designers, manageent, whoever -- will simply know when to use or not use this widget is what makes popups obnoxious.


Consequently you will see bad popup design copy-and-pasted into bad modal design ...that you can't ignore.

Edited by DCrx

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Modal became the 'new pop-up' about the time that pop-unders and pop-ups began to be blocked. Quite a while ago for some of the early adopters. Of course that was when the world was still mostly desktop connections, now with mobile's small screens it's constraints - and the ignorant/incompetent (dang but I love/hate those two words :)) design that comes with more mainstream adoption - are more frequently encountered.


People need to wake up and (1) design for mobile constraints, using Media Queries et al to progressively enhance for larger screens/resolutions, (2) design for accessibility constraints (~17% of web users have a measurable interactive disability), (3) design within usability constraints (consider identifying process patterns into a usability template), (4) design for various visitor demographic group emotional constraints (increasing appeal/stickiness for one group without alienating another can be tricky).


With apologies to John Donne:

No constraint is an island entire of itself; each

is a piece of the puzzle, a part of the main;

if a barrier be ignored by the designer, the site

is the less, as well as if a conversion were, as

well as any manner of thy ignorance or of thine

incompetence; any conversion's loss diminishes me,

because I am involved in business.

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.


Of course this advice is for those building a long term business presence.

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