I'm updating a legacy(12 y/o) system and one of the requirements is a cta that opens a model which lets the user make multiple selections, aswell as, typing an input that then gets added to a summary of added items. I was just wondering if there was a cleaner design pattern for this use case.

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  • The first question in these situations, when questioning in the cleanest design, is "Is the modal absolutely necessary?"
    – dennislees
    Mar 7, 2018 at 1:06
  • Sorry I didn't mean to insinuate that a modal was necessary. I was toying with the idea of a dropdown with multi-select aswell
    – RobT
    Mar 7, 2018 at 2:41
  • No problem, though your should probably rephrase the question as it's misleading in its current form. Try describing what UI is aiming to achieve - what the user is supposed to be able to do - without making reference to modals or dropdowns or UI in general.
    – dennislees
    Mar 7, 2018 at 3:23
  • 2
    A common source of complication when redesigning existing UI is that we too often try to create new UI in the context of the old stuff. This is where User Stories can really show their potential value. Sometime you need to step back and try to completely forget what the existing solution to problem is. Describing the requirements in terms of user goals and rationale is a great way of doing this.
    – dennislees
    Mar 7, 2018 at 3:34

2 Answers 2


Checkboxes are often easier to use than a multi-select, and also easier to make accessible and mobile friendly (especially if it will be web-based or an app). Perhaps your concern, though, is that your list of items is very long, in which case you could think about grouping the items (under subheadings, in separate boxes, etc. based on your context) or providing some kind of filtering or search within the list.

  • 1
    Or perhaps lay the list on two columns, for page brevity.
    – Adriano
    Nov 5, 2018 at 3:26

If your modal contains enough content, consider converting the modal into a full web page of its own. Its easier to scroll, and more accessible.

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