All business websites should give visitors all the information they need and content that translates into loyal readership. The more visitors you attract, the more leads your company gets. The problem is that it’s not always easy to keep site visitors coming back for more. Most often than not, you’ll need a site development agency’s help, especially if you want to keep up with the latest trends, such as using modals.

What Is a Modal?

Have you ever visited a website where a click prompted the appearance of a window urging you to become part of a mailing list or download content? If you have, then you’ve most likely had an encounter with a modal.

A modal, modal window, or lightbox is an element that shows up on top of a web page, making all other page content inaccessible. Returning to the main content requires you to perform an action or close the modal. What are modals for, though?

What Does a Modal Do?

Web pages use modals to focus visitors’ attention to critical information. They are especially useful for companies looking to pad their email distribution lists, promote content, generate leads, or sell their latest products.

Modals are like magnets that attract your target audience’s attention. They should ignite interest and so need to incite action. If we’re to sum up what a modal does, it helps site visitors focus.

Why Should You Use a Modal in Web Design?

While some web designers and even users may consider modals distractions, many stand by their effectiveness. In fact, a study of almost 2 billion modals revealed that the best performers obtained a 9.28% conversion rate. We listed three boons of using modals below.

Simplicity Is Key

Sometimes, the more complex a website is, the more users get turned off by it. Today’s most effective sites keep everything within a single tab. That way, visitors can continue where they left off before the modal appeared.

Getting Noticed Is the Way to Go

Content that appears on any active tab is bound to get noticed compared with that on a separate tab or window. Most users might miss prompts or instinctively close new windows because that’s what we’ve been conditioned to do about ad popups.

Save on Page Space

Using modals help web designers keep their pages simple by saving on space. Instead of displaying featured media like images or videos in-between text, they can use lightboxes. Keep in mind that none of us really like getting redirected to new pages or windows just to get to what we want.

Modal versus Popup, Whats the Difference?

By now you may be wondering if a modal and a popup are the same. The quick answer is no. While they both appear in front of an active page, the amount of attention they need varies.

Site visitors can’t access anything else when modals appear. They’d need to act (e.g., register to download content) or close modal windows before they can go back to reading before they appeared. They can, however, continue on when popups appear by just ignoring them.

When Should You Use a Modal in Web Design?

Like other web page elements, there are instances that may require using a modal in web design. We listed three instances below where modal usage would be ideal.

Give Off Warnings and Alerts

Modals are a great means to direct user attention to important stuff like warnings about performing certain actions. An example would be the following:

modal example

But like other web page elements, too many modals could become too distracting or even annoying so use them sparingly. Use modals only to convey critical messages.

Get Visitors to Fill Up Forms

If your company’s main goal for site creation is to generate leads, modals can help. Instead of redirecting interested users to a separate page or window, place the form inside a modal window instead. A lot of online publications that restrict content viewing to paying subscribers do just that. Here’s an example:

modal to generate leads

In the case of Wired and similar content providers, the modal aims to widen the publications’ subscriber base.

Simplify Processes

We all appreciate sites that make signup as quick and easy as possible. Instead of asking users to complete a lengthy process, consider using different modal windows for each action. This approach is commonly used by software applications in the form of wizards or installer guides.

Websites can do that, too. A great example would be Pinterest, which uses a modal for account creation.

modal for account creation

Now that you have a clearer picture as to what a modal is and what it’s for, keep in mind that too much of one thing may not be good. Keep these best practices in mind:

  • Use modals sparingly.
  • Give clear instructions.
  • Give users a way out.
  • Use the right size for modal windows.
  • Limit modal usage on mobile.

If integrating modals into your site isn’t easy for you, consider hiring experts in modal in web design to avoid the hassle.