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I am designing a lengthy questionairre (36 questions). Per our design system, I am supposed to use a modal popup (because it will make production faster).

I think that I should break with the design system (popups have to have 80px paddings) and just make it full screen. Because there are a lot of questions, it would be better for the user not to be disturbed by a blurred background, and it would be better to have a bigger screen area. On the other hand, it breaks with a system-wide decision.

What are the consequences that I should consider in making this decision?

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I think your instincts are correct. A 36-question form in a narrow modal popup window could create a number of challenges:

  1. What if the user accidentally clicks outside of the window and closes it?
  2. Lengthy scrolling in a modal window is a poor experience.
  3. What does this look like on mobile (if that's a consideration)?

Consistency is definitely one of the most important UX heuristics, but contemporary UX thought leadership advises to balance consistency with flexibility:

It’s natural that designers look for consistency and try to build visual systems. However, when focusing on building a consistent experience, it’s easy for the goals of an end user take a back seat which ultimately compromises the experience we set out to improve. Flexibility is often seen at odds with consistency, but for a design system to scale efficiently and effectively both need to be balanced. How they’re balanced depends on the personas and workflows for your products.

You might need to convince your leadership that breaking with the design system is the right thing for the user. If they are not open to this at first, go ahead and implement the questionnaire in a modal and watch the abandonment rate. Suggest testing a full-page version in an A/B test and see if you get better results.

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