I have a form to create a new Widget. After the user presses "Create," a modal progress bar appears and shows the user the status of the background process that saves the Widget. How should the modal appear?

  • From the right (on LTR languages), representing the "next stage" of the Widget creation process
  • From the top or within, representing a sub-process of the "current stage" of the Widget creation process
  • Other

I don't know whether this has any bearing, but in some cases there will be another form in the Widget creation process after the background build has finished.

  • Not sure what you mean "from which direction", most modal progress bars just appear; is this one animated to pop in? If so I'd just animate it like most of your pop ups animate in. I assume this isn't the only animated element?
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 27, 2012 at 18:50
  • "Pop in" is certainly a valid direction. Other modals do use popIn, but there are no other modals that are conceptually the next stage of a process. Jul 27, 2012 at 18:54

1 Answer 1


Well, Apple HIG would make it appear from the top... on the other side, Apple HIG is about editing a document (it's a document-based UI)

On the other side, on flow diagrams, I add such processes as a separate keyscreen (albeit with a special P1, P2, etc numbering, meaning processing, as opposed to KS1, meaning key screen), so in terms of sequential navigation, it would be logical to make it come from the right.

It depends wether:

  • the other steps are user navigatable (eg. explicit Next / Back buttons) - then it's not a step, it isn't navigatable
  • it's needed to calculate the next step - then it belongs to the next step, which could come in with a loading screen/progress bar first perhaps
  • there's only one step of it (eg, it's about saving a document) - then it's not a wizard, but a document, Apple HIG rules kick in, from top.
  • is it a bit out of the context (eg. it's done for each step, or it's a parallel activity, like when an OS installer formats disks, install apps acting on user request) - then it's from the top, denoting it comes from a parallel universe
  • user data can be collected beforehand - today's installers work this way: they collect all the data they need, then step one last time, and show the progress bar of acting on the full process

Does this help you?

  • I was hoping for an answer like this -- one that asks further questions and gives reasons rather than just picks a direction. Thanks :) Jul 27, 2012 at 19:06
  • 1
    Isn't what UX is about? I don't like when UX designers come with a pdf, full of screen mockups or nearly-full visuals, but no explanation on why things are that way.. This is how Xerox Star was born: problem, explanation. This is how design patterns are... This is what design is: create with an intent
    – Aadaam
    Jul 27, 2012 at 19:11

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