I have a several alerts which are effectively modals. When the User clicks OK, they are accepting a specific action.

For example, in the screenshot below, the User accepts that pressing the back button once more will force quit the app.

enter image description here

(Now reads: Press the back button to force quit the application)

When the User clicks in the area outside of the alert, the alert is then hidden.

Should clicking the outside area effectively do the same as clicking the OK button? Or should it just hide the modal?

  • You work for Equifax.com or something? Only in that nasty dark pattern universe should the lines between "yes" and "no" ever get blurred.
    – Luke Smith
    Sep 11, 2017 at 3:13

3 Answers 3



You've detailed the actions to the user in the modal box, what you are assigning to the action of clicking outside of the box is a presumed action, as such, you simply cannot 'presume' the user will know this.

IMO this would result in a poor user experience.

A better prompt would allow the user to cancel the modal box and return to the application or exit the application gracefully.

  • exactly, well said
    – Devin
    Sep 7, 2017 at 17:20

That dialog is very confusing.

It can be interpreted two different ways:

The application is warning the user that pressing the back button has initiated a quit action. Pressing 'OK' will acknowledge the warning and proceed to quit. This leaves the user wondering if there's any way to not quit.


The user needs to press the back button a second time to quit and clicking OK will dismiss the warning and return to the application.

In either case, there's nothing indicating that clicking outside of the box will do anything at all.

A much better design would be to simply prompt the user with:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • +1 for the second part. About your first part, you're correct it is confusing, therefore the answer to OP question is NO, no need for additional interpretation. This way, you remove ambiguity (just like you did on your mockup)
    – Devin
    Sep 7, 2017 at 17:23

Users clicking outside the model area (in the darker areas) is usually a sign to close down the dialogue box. This happens sometimes when browsing a website and a pop up appears. So if anything, as you say, "when the User clicks in the area outside of the alert, the alert is then hidden" and taken back to a state where the box was never selected.

If you are talking about the case of the 'quit application' you should also consider whether prompting the user to re-confirm quitting the application is even necessary. If there is no data changes (think MS word) then it may be advisable to just quit the application when the user decides to (without the reconfirmation).

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