When reading Is a lightbox considered a dialog box? (and writing my answer) I realized our tag for "modal" stuff is . As you'll note in my answer, I don't agree that all modal things are dialogs; instead there are (an existing tag) and there are .

Modality is a different issue from dialog-ness. Dialogs can be non-modal, and not all modal interaction elements fit the classic "Alert: yes/no" format of the traditional dialog. In my opinion we should keep the ideas distinct and just tag and separately.

Should we rename the that to ? I added the pluralization since it seems like we prefer plural noun tags.

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    Presumably we'd then have to retag the ones which were actually talking about dialog? Can't imagine it will take very long, but worth noting.
    – kastark
    Oct 2 '12 at 16:21
  • A lot of people refer to these as modal-dialogs though. I would use both Oct 9 '12 at 18:33
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    @mattrockwell Even if people refer to them as modal-dialogs, should we not promote correct usage of terminology here?
    – Rich
    Feb 2 '13 at 6:09
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    But you can have modal dialogs as well as modal windows. Would adding "modal" tag be better?
    – elemjay19
    Apr 30 '13 at 23:35
  • @norabora just modal to cover both cases would be fine with me. I don't think there's any relevant distinction between the two that isn't covered by adding the dialog tag separately where needed
    – Ben Brocka
    May 1 '13 at 12:39

I recently asked a question regarding what I consider "modal dialogs".

Is there any definitive research on modal/overlay forms? Specifically, dismissing behaviors

I didn't get a good answer because it seems people have different notions of what a modal dialog box is.

You can see from my language, I labored on what to call it.

When I think of modal dialog box, I think of the classic Action/Cancel popups from the application era. However I don't know what the agreed upon name is for all the modern web and mobile iterations we see today.

However, I DO believe I meant modal-window or window-overlay[-box].

To me, a modal-window is the combination of an overlay covering the entire window with a new smaller interface window embedded in it demanding user action. I am not sure if a modal-dialog implies all the same features.

When I search wikipedia for modal dialog, modal window returns as the result


They also mention lightbox. But that has distinct implementations and is an additional tag in my opinion.

If I had a vote, I would say it's good to change modal-dialog to modal-window

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    Since this got to +10 with only minor opposition and two answers in supprt I've made the tags synonyms, and modal-windows will show on questions for now. It's easy to reverse or make additional tags if we decide that's necessary
    – Ben Brocka
    Dec 13 '13 at 18:34

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