For an iOS app I'm working on, there is an important full-screen multi-step modal view used for certain key actions. The user is looking at a bunch of payees she can pay. She can tap a button to add to the list which is where the modal view comes in - the user must add various details and is then return to the original list of payees, with the new payee added. The official Android design guidelines don't address these kind of modal views. What do you think would be an appropriate Android version of it? Examples would be a bonus :)

Notes on the definition of a modal view:

I don't want to argue about wording, but I do think that what I'm describing really is a kind of modal view. From Apple's design guidelines:

"A modal view is especially appropriate for a multistep subtask that requires UI elements that don’t belong in the main app user interface all the time."

"On iPad, choose a modal view style that suits the current task and the visual style of your app. You can use any of these styles, defined here: Full screen. Covers the entire screen. This style is good for presenting a potentially complex task that people can complete within the context of the modal view. For example, the Music app uses this style for its Genius playlist creation task." [I'm not designing for an iPad app, but I just wanted to show that modal views can be in full screen. I believe there are examples of fullscreen modal views in Apple's iPhone apps, but I don't have time to find them right now]

  • 2
    What is this mystery pattern? Can you at least explain the workflow?
    – dnbrv
    Oct 29, 2012 at 12:29
  • If it's full screen, then it's not really a modal, per se
    – DA01
    Oct 31, 2012 at 8:07
  • Please see my updated question. Sorry for the delay in responding.
    – Coja
    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:29

2 Answers 2


Typically multi-step modal views should not be used on phones for a simple reason that the screen size is very limited. A modal view is useful for small quick actions on a phone since with a complex modal view, one cannot even show the whole background page, and hence it becomes meaningful.

If there is a complex workflow that needs multiple steps, take the user to a separate full-page multi-page interface to complete the process and bring him back to parent page when done.

  • Please see my updated question. Sorry for the delay in responding.
    – Coja
    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:28

If I understand your question correctly, in Android you would typically use a Dialog.



Users expect dialogs to accomplish very short tasks, so if there is some complexity to it, you might consider adding a new activity instead. As a rule of thumb, if you have anything more than a couple UI widgets, create a new activity (especially if you have text fields - the keyboard alone will take considerable space in most devices).


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