I have an application divided into list, edit and dashboard pages. Each application entity has its own list and edit page. Does it make sense to modify the application by going to the list page and modal dialogue which contains the modification form? These forms can also be very complex. More generally, does it make sense to use dialogue modals to create edit forms for an entity? Can you list the reasons why yes or why not?

2 Answers 2


A modal-based form doesn't seem too unreasonable for a simpler form, however one generally thinks of modals as being smaller in size than the underlying application, so appropriate for a smaller (simpler) form. And one generally thinks of modals as not having scrollbars.

So if the form is large or complex and you require a very large modal, you might as well put the form on its own separate page.

Also, if scrollbars and frequent scrolling are needed in the modal in order to display the entire form, it is not appropriate. If the user must excessively scroll up and down (or back and forth) to access the whole form, then the modal (smaller window) is not a good fit. This is especially true if the form is complex and requires the user to reference previously filled out parts of the form. Frequent scrolling to reference content not in view in a form is not an effective user experience.

Back to my original point, if you have to make the modal fill most of the screen to effectively display the form, then you probably should just give the form its own page display area that can occupy a larger area of the screen. The same is true if you have to scroll a lot to fit the form into a smaller modal.


Probably not.

For me the strongest argument is the sheer anxiety of accidentally closing the modal which exponentially increases with the increase of form complexity (and therefore loss of edited changes).

Modals are meant to be rather interruptions, digressions from the original user flow. In your case... well, let's see.

If you want to just edit entity's name or description (or other 1,2 or 3 at most fields) - then modal seems appropriate, especially if that is something that user does in a specific context, out of their primary flow. It is a small change, maybe something you are reminded of while in your primary flow.

If you have a whole range of properties that your entity can have and you just want to set a base place where someone can edit them... I definitely suggest using a page as there is no reason for a modal, only if...

... you want to get rid of tedious clicking back and forth in between of the list of entities and entity form. If that is something that is going to happen often, I suggest splitting window into two halves, columns - one of them a list of entities and another one with a form of a selected entity.

See also split view: https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/ios/views/split-views/

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