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I want to make a simple popover (or modal) that allows a user to subscribe to a newsletter (of course only when a user clicks on "subscribe to newsletter", I don't want to be obnoxious). It'll be a small, vertically and horizontally centered overlay over the current page, and I'm thinking of using something like Simple Modal.

My question is (since I've heard that this isn't really recommended for mobile): will a modal be usable on mobile browsers, or are there better alternatives?

By the way, I prefer a modal and not a separate page because there is very little content. So a completely different page would look out of place to me. Also, signing up to a newsletter is something you do "on the side" I think, so it would seem logical to me to not take the user from the page he or she is visiting.

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2 Answers

Yes, modals are usable for simple content on mobile.

In fact they are used by Android in the settings when you change an item. In iOS they are much less common, but if you use them in a sane way for very simple dialogues, they are okay.

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I think it is would be ok to use modal, but before you do so you could consider these things:

  • modals may be considered as nags - just search Google for "nag screen iPhone" and you will find that most of them are modals. On iPhone most of the modals I can see are "Would you like to rate this app?" - this kind of message does not give much profit for the user, so I almost naturally tend to click "Skip" or "Close" or "Cancel", whatever lets me get rid of this. Without putting much effort to read what is there.

  • presenting the option to subscribe to newsletter in a separate view rather than modal, will let you - if properly used, with clean interface - make the user less distracted, as he lands in a visually, and thus logically separated view.

  • in the same time, asking user to subscribe to newsletter is nagging him about it. There is not much profit out of newsletters unless... you properly describe it, in both visual and textual way. This is where you can use the space you said you don't need.

From this point of view, I think you will get better conversion to subscriptions if you use a separate view rather than modal.

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