Modals focus the user’s attention exclusively on one task or piece of information via a window that sits on top of the page content.
Modals are a variant of dialog used to present critical information or request user input needed to complete a user’s workflow. Modals interrupt a user’s workflow by design. When active, a user is blocked from the on-page content and cannot return to their previous workflow until the modal task is completed or the user dismisses the modal. While effective when used correctly, modals should be used sparingly to limit disruption to the user.
Modal dialogs are commonly used for short and non-frequent tasks, such as editing or management tasks. If a user needs to repeatably preform a task, consider making the task do-able from the main page.
When to use
Require an immediate response from the user
Use a dialog to request information that is preventing the system from continuing a user-initiated process.
Notify the user of urgent information
Use a modal dialog to notify the user of urgent information concerning their current work. Modal dialogs are commonly used to report system errors or convey a consequence of a user’s action.
Confirm a user decision
Use a modal dialog to confirm user decisions. Clearly describe the action being confirmed and explain any potential consequences that it may cause. Both the title and the button should reflect the action that will occur. If the action is destructive or irreversible then use a transactional danger modal.
|Passive||Presents information the user needs to be aware of concerning their current workflow. Contains no actions for the user to take.|
|Transactional||Requires an action to be taken in order for the modal to be completed and closed. Contains a cancel and primary action buttons.|
|Danger||A specific variant of transactional modal used for destructive or irreversible actions.|
|Acknowledgment||System requires an acknowledgement of the information from the user. Contains only a single button, commonly “OK”.|
|Progress||Requires several steps to be completed before it can be closed. Contains a cancel, previous, and next/completion buttons.|