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I'm designing a form with 4 accordions. On the end of the 1st accordion, 1 of 2 things will happen:

  • Success: user will go to next accordion and all is okay
  • Not successful (user is referred to call centre).

I've designed this as a lightbox for the 'non successful' journey but keep reading about lightbox problems. What's a good alternative? I could bring them to a different page but it's not great when they could have accidentally answered something and would then need to go back....

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  • If the form fails validation or whatever it is that triggers a 'not successful' then why not just display the 'call the call centre' information as part of the on-page validation text? "Your details were incorrect for {whatever} reason. Update the details and try again, or call the call centre on {tel-no}", something like that? – JonW Feb 19 '14 at 16:05
  • why not to give user a chance to fix errors in 1st accordeon? If this is not the case, then I agree with JonW - just display the inline message and make it highly visible. – Humanoit Feb 19 '14 at 16:15
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What about using one of these awesome transitions to display the error message? http://tympanus.net/Development/PageTransitions/

The message could be inside a hidden div in each accordions, and can be revealed when the error occured.

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Another option is to have an dismissable overlay like how stackoverflow does it when a mistake is done

enter image description here

This way you can draw the person's attention to the concerned error and allow him to take the corresponding action needed.

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The question you really want to ask yourself is: Do I want to go modal?

Modal messages & pop ups are often a sign, that something is conceptually wrong with our user interface. Instead of a complete loss of context, I suggest you rather show an inline-tooltip and disable the next button until the fields are filled correctly.

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  • Modals/Lightboxes are not wrong by default. In some cases, when they are limited to small amount information they could work well. I think they give user reassurance that the context is not lost. Airbnb is a nice example (favorite a place scenario). It also allows user to focus on limited amount of information without distractions. – Anna Rouben Mar 17 '16 at 19:02

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