When reading Is a lightbox considered a dialog box? (and writing my answer) I realized our tag for "modal" stuff is . As you'll note in my answer, I don't agree that all modal things are dialogs; instead there are (an existing tag) and there are .

Modality is a different issue from dialog-ness. Dialogs can be non-modal, and not all modal interaction elements fit the classic "Alert: yes/no" format of the traditional dialog. In my opinion we should keep the ideas distinct and just tag and separately.

Should we rename the that to ? I added the pluralization since it seems like we prefer plural noun tags.

Presumably we'd then have to retag the ones which were actually talking about dialog? Can't imagine it will take very long, but worth noting. –  dhmstark Oct 2 '12 at 16:21
A lot of people refer to these as modal-dialogs though. I would use both –  Matt Rockwell Oct 9 '12 at 18:33
@mattrockwell Even if people refer to them as modal-dialogs, should we not promote correct usage of terminology here? –  Rich Feb 2 '13 at 6:09
But you can have modal dialogs as well as modal windows. Would adding "modal" tag be better? –  norabora Apr 30 '13 at 23:35
@norabora just modal to cover both cases would be fine with me. I don't think there's any relevant distinction between the two that isn't covered by adding the dialog tag separately where needed –  Ben Brocka May 1 '13 at 12:39

1 Answer 1

I recently asked a question regarding what I consider "modal dialogs".

Is there any definitive research on modal/overlay forms? Specifically, dismissing behaviors

I didn't get a good answer because it seems people have different notions of what a modal dialog box is.

You can see from my language, I labored on what to call it.

When I think of modal dialog box, I think of the classic Action/Cancel popups from the application era. However I don't know what the agreed upon name is for all the modern web and mobile iterations we see today.

However, I DO believe I meant modal-window or window-overlay[-box].

To me, a modal-window is the combination of an overlay covering the entire window with a new smaller interface window embedded in it demanding user action. I am not sure if a modal-dialog implies all the same features.

When I search wikipedia for modal dialog, modal window returns as the result


They also mention lightbox. But that has distinct implementations and is an additional tag in my opinion.

If I had a vote, I would say it's good to change modal-dialog to modal-window

Since this got to +10 with only minor opposition and two answers in supprt I've made the tags synonyms, and modal-windows will show on questions for now. It's easy to reverse or make additional tags if we decide that's necessary –  Ben Brocka Dec 13 '13 at 18:34

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