Pop-ups vs Modal windows



I’m sure this question must have been answered before…
What’s the difference between Modal window and a Popup? What to use when?
Is there a good article I can read?



Since you haven’t got an answer in six hours I’ll provide my unqualified thoughts on this subject.

I’d say that a popup is a modal window, possibly with the specification that popups are limited to simple interaction such as information, yes/no questions or one or two text input fields.

There is at least one web designer who disagrees with this, but I wonder if he really read the Wikipedia page he’s linking to.

Edit: come to think of it, not all popups are modal… but that’s probably because of a misunderstanding of what a popup should be.

Edit 2: fixed the link


A pop up used to be a whole new browser window specially resized and and chrome removed with a bit of javascript but as they thankfully mostly disapeared a few years ago. Most people now use pop up and Modal interchangeably. Modals where built as a replacement for pop ups but then ended up with their own usability issues.

A metaphor could be frames versus the new sticky menus (though I like the sticky menus).


Thank you Bleke for sharing.


Thanks @rachelreveley