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I have a user-input form appearing in a lightbox, essentially a modal window. Any validation errors on the input form appear as an alert box, which is basically another modal window.

Intuitively, stacking modal windows does not seem like the ideal solution, is there a best-practices approach to resolving this and improving usability?

3

Validation errors in general should be shown next to the corresponding fields which failed to validate rather than as a new window over the form. This both makes it clear which parts failed to validate and prevents the problem you're describing.

3

Lightboxes tends to be a controversial solution since they adds layers and complexity in the user experience. So stacking them is definetly not the best solution. However, there still some famous site doing this (i.e. Behance).

In your case, even if using a modal will bring all user's attention, displaying errors could be much simpler. For example :

error input

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