I'm building my portfolio page where I have some thumbnails that, when clicked, show the respective study cases. My idea is to open them on a fullscreen overlay on the same page (like those that shows fullscreen menus when an hamburger menu is opened), but I'm concerned if this is a bad choice and that I should open on a new window. I am aware of the ux problems of modal windows but the structure that is emerging seems different from the old modals.
A "modal" window is not inherently bad. Among that pattern's advantages:
- User doesn't have to leave their place in the list
- Feels like less work to browse through projects, which you want people to do (I'm assuming)
- Doesn't require a full page load, so it might feel faster (depending on what else you have going on behind the scenes)
However, as milano suggested, you should make sure that your design supports using the back button, and I would also highly recommend supporting direct links. Here are some other commonly janky things about modals, which you should watch out for:
- Background scrolls instead of—or along with—the contents of the modal. This usually happens after the modal's content is done scrolling one direction or the other
- Clicking outside the modal doesn't close it
- Modal takes over the entire screen, including the navigation, and there is nothing to signify where I am or how to get out of here (except maybe a big 'x' button)
- Modals aren't properly sized on mobile devices...they might be too large and require people to scroll, or too small and squeeze the content into an uncomfortably small space for reading
- There is no close button
This article from the Nielsen Norman Group would be a good one to read if you're concerned about the usability of your design, and as always, testing a prototype with users is a great way to find out definitively whether it's usable or not.
I would definitely avoid using modals for displaying detailed content. There are some serious disadvantages for user:
- you can't copy&paste URL of the content you'd like to share
- you can't open the links in new tabs to read them later
These are two basic reasons why I'm against displaying detailed content in modal window. You should also think about using this principile in mobile device which could be quite confusing.