In my web application, there is a process that, when run, displays an important message to all active users and requires them to acknowledge my dismissing the message.

My first thought was to display a modal that requires the user to accept before continuing usage of the app. However, if the user is already in a modal, this would have the unfortunate effect of having a modal over a modal – something I would very much like to avoid. I see this happen in operating systems, and it always annoys me. Does anyone have an alternate idea?

Edit: Code Mavericks solution is a possible solution and the one I have been going with for now. I am leaving this open for a bit with the hope that someone comes up with a non-stacked modal solution.

For claricication: The user is in the modal to perform a task within the app. When another in the same enterprise performs a different action that affect all users, they will need to be notified as this may impact the work they are doing.

  • Isn't it possible for the user to finish whatever they are doing within that modal before being confronted with the message? Apr 9, 2015 at 18:58
  • and why would they be in a modal? is there a possible scenario where they get to that app from within a modal? If so, you need to solve that first!
    – Devin
    Apr 9, 2015 at 19:28
  • possible duplicate of Stacked modal dialogs (with Material Design) Apr 9, 2015 at 19:43
  • @Paul Since the message is informing the user that the state of the application has changed, this may affect the impact of the action the user is taking in the modal, so they cannot proceed forward without that knowledge.
    – rdellara
    Apr 9, 2015 at 20:48

2 Answers 2


I don't necessarily agree with @tohster when he says, "Avoid the stacked modal." There's nothing wrong with stacking modals. A great way to do so is just make sure it's the same size as the modal it's in front of that way you don't see the "stack."

Look at my answer to his question on this exact topic:

It could look something like this:
( it would obviously be smooth with jQuery or whatever you use, but it gives an idea )

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • 1
    +1 I agree I was too biased against the stacked modal. It's a reasonable solution (eg it has been used for a long time in Windows applications) even if I don't personally like it
    – tohster
    Apr 10, 2015 at 3:10

Avoid the stacked modal

There isn't really a good way to use stacked modals.

This modal+confirmation pattern occurs with site privacy and terms+conditions notices. A typical approach is to include a checkbox that must be affirmatively checked by users before they can submit the form/dismiss the dialog.

[ ] I accept the terms

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