Whenever you open a retail store website, the popup for subscription discount appears.

Even if you are in the middle of searching for your product, this popup comes on your screen.

It gets your attention but not because it offers something extraordinary. Mostly, you are irritated by it and want to close this popup quickly.

Therefore, it is important that you use these windows in your web designing cautiously and without irritating the users. This ensures that you enhance the overall user experience.

These popups are called Modal windows.

In this article, I will tell you what modal windows are and when should you use these popup windows.

Let’s find out.

What are Modals?

A modal window, also known as lightbox is a web page element that refers to a box that pops up. It interrupts the action you are attempting to complete by deactivating all other page content. You need to either close the modal or complete a specific action within it to return to the main content. Modals are used to get the focus of user and get their attention to an important action or piece of information on a website.

For example, when you re browsing an entertainment website or beauty products from a beauty store, the window that pops up to invite you to subscribe to the newsletter or to subscribe to the website and get 5% discount on your first purchase, this is called a modal window. You might have seen modal window when you clicked on the video and a window popped out of browser to help you see the video or image better. Modal windows are used to enhance user experience.

Benefits of Using Modals

  1. Modals keep things simple by putting everything within one tab. The visitor of the website stay connected with what they were doing before the modal appeared.
  2. It is certain that the visitor see the modal because it appears within the user’s active tab.
  3. Modals also help preserve page space by displaying featured media, like images or videos, in a modal window.

When to Use Modal Windows

1.   Warning, Alerts, Confirmations

Modal windows are excellent at directing attention. It can show an alert about an error, a warning about the consequences of some action, or confirmation of a completed process. For example: An error like this can be shown through modal window, “We could not complete your request due to a server error. Refresh the page and try again.”

2.   Forms

You can also place a form inside a modal window. The visitor will fill the information on the modal window only and does not need to be redirected to other page for filling out information. It is also used for login/signup, email newsletter, content offer, or discount code.

3.   Help/Tips

Help or tips are not essential part of the website so you don’t want them to take up space and get in the way of content. And not every user will need them. But to make your website user-friendly and complete then these help elements or tips should be available. And the best way to do is to put them in modal windows. The website visitor can easily open and close the modal windows without disturbing the functionality or content of website.

4.   Search Boxes

Though it is not common, but some websites put search boxes in modal windows. To save the space on the website, you just need to put the search box in a floating window.

5.   Media Displays

Modal windows are commonly used for the lightbox. Lightbox showcases images and video in a clean and usable fashion. Media is an important part of a website. It sets the tone for the browsing experience and keeps the interest of visitor. If your website sells products then modal windows are best to display product catalogue. A modal window lets visitors view the images or video in isolation without opening it in another page. A thumbnail can also open a video modal, it just looks like a theatre and it closes once the video completes. You would usually blur or fade out the background behind a modal window, putting the focus on the image or video, thus creating an excellent environment in which site visitors can view the media.

When you use a lightbox for an image gallery, you must link every image to the same lightbox. You can use arrows or “Next” and “Previous” buttons, so that users can easily navigate the images. The visitor does not have to close and re-open the modal window to view each image in the gallery.

6.   Multistep processes

If your website contains multistep processes that are lengthy and require more energy-intensive actions i.e. to create a user profile, signing up for a service, etc., the best is to use modal windows. You can separate each step by dedicating one modal window per step. But it is important to show progress within the window as a bar, a sequence of small dots, numbers, or some other indicator to make the user experience great.

Modal Window Best Practices

  • Use modals intentionally and infrequently.
  • Deactivate all background elements.
  • Write clear instructions and button text.
  • Give users an out.
  • Size your modal window appropriately.
  • Use fades to introduce and close modal.
  • Limit modals on mobile.
  • Design your modals for accessibility.

So, now you know how beneficial modal windows are and they save so much space on your website. If you want to design your website with modal windows, you can contact COMXL. You will get the best web design in Denver. They deliver the highest quality responsive web designs to create a great user experience. COMXL also provide SEO services other than web designing.