The product I am working on at the moment is a standalone product but we are creating a web app to replace it.

It currently opens modal windows on top of modal windows for the same function

i.e Create new report (modal) > add person to report (modal)

Is there a known best practice for making this nicer to use without using a wizard?


3 Answers 3


Even thought I agree with SteveD in principle every time you add a model you create a break in the user's thought process of the task at hand. That is one of the main reasons that wizards with step markers came into being. But since you have stated that you are trying not to make this wizardry with paging then maybe one of the following ideas could work for you:

  1. Have a one page form that the user builds the report on and user selection is just the last entry in the form.

  2. Have the report access be a separate intention and page of its own that allows the report creator(s) to manage the user base for many reports in one place.


There will be some who say that opening a modal over another modal is wrong. However, this point of view probably stems from the early days of web, where opening multiple windows was (rightly) frowned upon from a usability perspective.

If the primary task is to create a new report, adding users to the report is a secondary feature which is not really related to the primary task, and may not even be used every time you create a new report.

So in this context, given that selecting a user is a very discrete task and is very time limited, it will probably be OK to do this in a second modal, e.g. once you have selected the user(s), this second modal will now close and control will be returned back to the report modal.


I'm not saying modal upon modal is absolutely wrong, but I would say that usually it is a workaround for something that could also be solved in a more elegant way.

For example in your case, why do you need a modal for adding a person to the report? Wouldn't just a simple auto-fill search field work? Couldn't you just expand the stuff you would have in the modal into the first modal?

On the other hand - why is the "new report" modal a modal? Could it maybe be a separate page? In my opinion modals are best for tasks that are really quick to complete. If creating a new report is lots of work, maybe it could warrant a new page?

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