by anthony on 02/13/14 at 9:44 am
Most modal windows these days dominate the screen when they open. They take up your full attention and block you from viewing other content on the screen until you click the X to close it. This is sometimes useful, but sometimes it’s overkill when all you want is to give the user a snippet of more information. At the same time, you don’t want to make the page too long and you want to allow users to view new information without losing context. If this is the case, inline modal windows are what you should use.
Inline modal windows are modal windows that open inline with content without covering the page. The example above shows two inline modal windows displayed in separate page sections. When you click the link, the modal opens in that section. You’re able to open both modal windows at the same time to compare information without overwhelming the user. Clicking the X closes the modal and takes you back to the original content.
The page is a step by step guide on how to upgrade to a new operating system. Had they not used inline modal windows it would have made each page section long, and made users feel like upgrading was a hard task. Instead the steps look short and simple. Users can view new information for each step at the same time without losing their context. A regular modal window would have only allowed users to look at one section at a time and made users work too hard. Sometimes modal windows are what you need to grab the user’s attention. But sometimes inline modal windows are what you need to display content in a simple and efficient way.