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We are designing a web application. In the grid view list we have a add new link which can open a modal pop-up window or push down the content like an accordion type user interface.

Regarding usability of the application, which one is better?

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Popping a modal means that the user must deal with the modal before continuing: complete its task or mouse to its close button and get rid of it.

Push downs don't require any additional action from the user. I can open up one of those suckers (or many of them) and just scroll past.

That's not to say that one is always better than the other. That depends on your context.

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Use modal window if it's a multiple actions/screens flow (add link, name it, add tags … submit), use push-down if it's a single action operation (paste link, submit).

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I say that in the 1st place you need to analyse how the users will use your application and what kind of devices will they use (Is is mostly desktop/mobile/tablet). Afterwards you need to explain a little bit better what is happening in that "Add new link" action:

  • If the action is basic and simple (no added complexity) you can just use a simple approach with push down / expand, which will take very little space and focus
  • If the action requires additional details, then maybe is ok to go with a modal window or pop-up kind of behaviour. But keep in mind that the modal is usually used for separate flows and are not that friendly for mobile environments and can cause stress

You just need some more details and the answer will pop in your head :)

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I like input ‘right there’ in the grid than in ‘another’ window. In terms of user experience I think ‘in-grid’ update/edit is better.

Also with pop ups specially modal ones, you can only work with one record at a time. With slider model, you can have multiple rows open and edit/update or at least have a “view” of editable/updatable fields.. or even can do multiple updates at one time if you design it like that.

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