I'm developing a web application where most of the interaction is done using popups over a map. The popups are part of a report, and will change when user completes several steps, so the popups represents the main task user should be doing, and user are expecting it.

My question is if is a good idea to close the popup and triggering all the same actions that if user clicks the (X) button or the cancel button.

My main concern is related to user accidentally clicking outside and cancelling the whole process without wanting to.

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    However you decide to handle "important" modals, do the same for the unimportant ones. Users will expect all the modals to have the same behaviors. Commented May 18, 2016 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


In an enterprise webapp we are developing we make the distinction between:

  • modals: can only be closed through very deliberate action, because closing would break some flow or may cause data loss. These have no X button, cannot be closed by clicking outside modal. Most do have a separate "abort" button, making it more explicit that closing may result in data loss. Example would be a multiple field form.
  • popups: do have X button, and can be closed by clicking outside. Some have "Apply" button, but no "abort" button. Some close automatically by primary interaction. Example would be an elaborate select list, login window, or popup to read comment thread and post new comment.

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