Re: Modal windows: branched from Test drive the next generation user interface for PCGen
- For a solid example of why existing use of modal dialogs is a dangerous
play, check out one of the many places where the decision to go modal causes
inconvenience. In XP, view available wireless networks when there are more
than half a dozen around. Since the window is modal, you are forced to
scroll up and down rather than maximizing the window to show several more.
Among others, Display Properties for selecting the desktop image, which
forces you to scroll if you have more than a dozen or so choices.
If you look around there are plenty of examples of popups that were designed
as modal, then at the last minute, or later, the programmer added some
informative text. Then they fail to check, or check but fail to notice, that
the user can't see something because the window is modal and the text box
wasn't defined as scrollable. The text is cut off, with no way to find out
what is missing.
On the user end, the only upside justification for Modal windows is
aesthetics, which is always a personal choice anyway. On the downside, while
it works, right now, for many things, it pre-supposes that no one will ever
find a way to put more information in the window, or that they will never
have any reason to look at more than a few choices at a time.
People aren't going to stop using them for everything, but every instance
represents something else that has to be carefully looked at whenever
changes are made.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]