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I am currently working on an issue tracking system (you might want to compare it to Jira, but more lightweight). The main screen of the application is this issue list:

enter image description here

When a user clicks on an issue, I can either open the issue in a modal view (e.g. like Trello):

enter image description here

or open it in a new page with a back button to get back to the full list:

enter image description here

I am undecided since there is conflicting advice on this.

The modal view has the advantage that the user stays in context of the issue list. Which requires less mental switching cost. The new page has the advantage that it is better suited for more content. Especially when a scroll-bar becomes necessary and also works better with built-in browser navigation.

Which option is preferable in this context?

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I'm unsure about the implementations of it in an issue tracking system where I assume the average user is a little bit more computer savvy then the usual consumer but: https://baymard.com/blog/ecommerce-quick-views

elaboration The research from Baymard indicates that users perceive the modal als the 'final' page. This makes it possible for users to not see that there actually is a page with more information. Christian Holst also states in the article that the use of a quick view is usually the result of a poorly designed list view. The above is mostly when you introduce both options though. I'm unsure if that is a possibility you looked into.

The use of a modal does increases the risk of misuse of the browser back button. (trying to get back to the list view by pressing "back", and then going back to the homepage or page before the list view). This can be adjusted with HTML history tagging, i don't really recommend it though.

And, this is personally, but I wouldn't like it purely because I open these things in a new tab. Granted, this is mostly because of poorly designed list view and back button functionality. But still.

It's focused on eCommerce but might still apply.

Other (baymard) articles that might be relevant: https://baymard.com/blog/back-button-expectations, https://baymard.com/blog/inline-scroll-areas

  • In our case the modal would be the final page, not some kind of in-between step. – tcam Dec 19 '17 at 14:16
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Okay, I came up with a third option inspired by Asana. We could also keep the list open showing only the most important info while opening the selected bug on the side. This would at least solve the scrolling issues of tabs. Probably will work only on screen sizes of HD and more.

enter image description here

  • With this view you lose 2 of the columns. I did think about it. Probably the designer can then pick if they really need 4 columns or if they can do away with 2 columns. Priority could be an icon as well and doesn't have to be column as such. – Bindu Dec 20 '17 at 13:56
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Modals are not the best components when there is lot of information. Having a page works better in that situation.

In your example, you can see if having an option to expand a row makes senses (collapsible rows).

Look at this discussion: Modal or new Page?

Looking to hear other opinions.

  • You can absolutely tie a URL to a modal. – elliottregan Dec 27 '17 at 21:09
  • @elliottregan thanks for pointing that! edited the answer to reflect it. – Bindu Dec 29 '17 at 9:36

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