I'm trying to come up with a way to ensure the user expects a modal to open when clicking a button in my interface. This modal has options from which the user changes the content inside the same page (not exactly filters or order).

Is there a pattern for it?

  • Why? What action would a user take if he knew he was opening a modal instead of a new screen? How would this information help the user?
    – Mayo
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 19:28
  • you should probably reword the question so you're not specifically asking for the best icon.
    – Dave Haigh
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 19:33
  • @Mayo In this specific scenario, expecting the button to navigate away from that page might stop users from using it. But overall, the purpose of this question is to find a solution that avoids frustration caused by broken expectation. Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 19:37
  • @Dave, I'm looking for icons most aptly used, isn't it a case where "best" is right? Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 19:37
  • I mean according to the help section. asking for advice on what icon to use for a feature isn't allowed.
    – Dave Haigh
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


The use of the ellipses (...) on a button is fairly well used to denote that the function requires more user input.

From the Microsoft User Experience Guidelines:

Using ellipses While menu commands are used for immediate actions, more information might be needed to perform the action. Indicate a command that needs additional information (including a confirmation) by adding an ellipsis at the end of the label.

Proper use of ellipses is important to indicate that users can make further choices before performing the action, or even cancel the action entirely. The visual cue offered by an ellipsis allows users to explore your software without fear.

This doesn't mean you should use an ellipsis whenever an action displays another window—only when additional information is required to perform the action.

In case of ambiguity (for example, the command label lacks a verb), decide based on the most likely user action. If simply viewing the window is a common action, don't use an ellipsis.

Also Apple:

Use an ellipsis in the name of a menu item or button that produces a dialog. The ellipsis (…) indicates that the user must take further action to complete the task. The dialog title should be the same as the menu command or button label (except for the ellipsis) used to invoke it. To learn more about using an ellipsis, see Using the Ellipsis

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