I am creating an iOS app in which the user can tap an astronomical object. When this astronomical object is tapped a modal view slides up (from the bottom of the screen). This modal view provides the user with some information about the object, such as a picture, age, distance to Earth and some details about atmosphere and composition.

When the user scrolls down, the user can tap a button which brings the user to the Wikipedia article about the respective astronomical object. However, should the modal view close or stay after switching to Safari?

I assume the user has good knowledge about the object after reading the Wikipedia article, so my bet is to close the modal view but I might be wrong. Any ideas?

I am only targeting iOS 4.3 and higher so multitasking is supported and my app will stay unclosed when the user is browsing Wikipedia.

  • By the way, why is it a modal view and not a pushed view with a standard back button on it ?
    – David
    May 5, 2011 at 7:53
  • The main view is a camera view and it's a bit confusing and useless if it is in a navigation controller.
    – user371
    May 5, 2011 at 9:45

2 Answers 2


I would come back to your app as the user left it - i.e. modal view stays open. The main reason would be transparent and predictable behavior. That's also why I disagree with David's answer (see comment).

Just make sure the user doesn't have to scroll up or down to be able to close the modal view.

Hope that helps, Phil

  • The modal view can be closed by a button in a bar which is always at the top of the screen, so that's no problem. I'll take a look at this. Thanks :)
    – user371
    May 4, 2011 at 14:46

Maybe you could use time to help you deciding.

If the user switches back "quickly" (quickly is to be defined), he will se the modal view is still here. In his mind, he is in the same context and might be happy with the modal is still here. That way he doesn't have this strange feeling "What has happened to my popup ???"

If he takes a long time before coming back to the application, he probably has switched of context (maybe he even launched another app before coming back). So it might be better for him to come back to a "neutral" screen, where the modal has been closed.

I would say "quickly" is "less than 15 minutes". Past the 15 minutes, the popup should be closed.

  • -1 from me. I think this can get quite confusing because for the user it will just feel like sometimes it stays open and sometimes it doesn't.
    – Phil
    May 4, 2011 at 13:49
  • @Phil : You're probably right. I wanted this idea to be challenged :). Isn't it confusing when coming back to the application a few hours later to see that a popup is here ? Usually a popup is kind of an "instant/quick view", not something you keep opened for a long time. In fact, I think I would have given a different answer if it were a pushed view and not a popup. What do you think ?
    – David
    May 5, 2011 at 7:58
  • True - I guess it also depends on the visual implementation. If it's more like a modal dialog it probably shouldn't stay open. But the solution he talks about sounds more like a content page with a close instead of a back button.
    – Phil
    May 5, 2011 at 12:25

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