Modal windows are offering extra spaces on the screen without intimidating user experiences if designed smartly. No doubt, making its semantic is the need of moment. Therefore, let’s check the best practices and trends for working with modal windows in your web design project.
In web design whether for static or responsive websites, you need to take care of readability, usability, accessibility, and functionality during entire designing and programming process. In due course, organization of information architecture along with design layout is crucial and demanding a bit experiences as well as expertise.
At present, most of the websites are business oriented and highly relying on online identity to accomplish their critical tasks or processes of the business. Therefore, intricacy in design and functionality is natural. Majority of clients and their web developers are screen real estate hungry. They constantly try to include maximum info in minimum space. Thus, their trade-off with layout blocks and responsive design become more complex and force them to find out innovative ideas to justify their content needs.
Technically, we have innumerable GUI elements and structures to organize our ever-increasing content needs. For instance, jQuery-based sliders, Ajax based tabs, and simple pop-ups or modal windows through programming. Among these, modal windows have certain advantages to do off-canvas designing for web and mobile platforms.
Advantages of Modal Windows
Let me list those advantages in brief just to mention:
- Modal windows are quite smaller UI element in most of the cases so save space
- It is floating over the existing page so you need not to create special space for them in your layout, just give links or CTA UI element to pop it up
- It never requires loading of entire page and simulate the Ajax like functionality so end-users like them so you can consider the modal window as improved usability step in your web designing
- You can move modal window simply by dragging it on the existing page so offer great convenience for users
- As modal windows are part of off-canvas design, you can add them in multiple occasions and in as many as you need, of course, don’t exceed here too
Contextual Usage of Modal Windows
No doubt, modal windows are excellent structural UI elements, but they are not applicable on all sorts of content or media so be careful while incorporating in your UI designs. Here I am going to listing and depicting where and when modal windows elements should use and not.
In these days, our images and videos are of large to extra-large size. Therefore, incorporating them on live web page or UI prove costly and strenuous for layout designers. If we use lightbox for images and videos we don’t have to load or reload web page frequently and can reduce the loading burden until lightbox is not opened. You can use thumbnails of images/videos at linking UI element instead of mere text link or simple button. Thus, you can give ideas of the content before clicking it.
Moreover, you have many options to highlight your content of lightbox in modal window design. For instance, you can blur the background of the rest of screen against the lightbox so your visitors/users can easily see the image details or watch video without distractions. Workings with background of modal windows are easy in styling so you can show your creativity freely.
Another usage of lightbox is converting modal windows into the image galleries. Here you can use auto-sliding or manual next-previous buttons to the lightbox to give best user experiences.
There is much other usage of modal windows in web or mobile UI designing, but we will check them in the next part of this series.
Shoaib Marfatiya is an eminent writer in web development industry and its verticals. He has contributed a lot by throwing lights on very intricate issues of web and mobile development community.