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....

  • 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, 2014 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, 2014 at 16:15

3 Answers 3


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.


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.


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.

  • 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. Mar 17, 2016 at 19:02

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