Dev Depot: CSS Modal — Evolution of the Console

Stephen Yagielowicz

Whether it is a matter of displaying an alert notifying website visitors that there is age-inappropriate content not suitable for minors ahead, or that they can receive a bonus offer, free cam credits, or an attractive cross sale promotion, the launching of additional browser windows, often streamlined with stripped-down “chrome” or other features and known as a console, is a common site maintenance and marketing practice; which while effective, is frowned upon by many Internet users who typically find these tools intrusive.

As such, browser software and third-party applications are increasingly blocking the more common types of coding, such as JavaScript triggers, used to launch console codes.

CSS Modal generates windows built entirely out of pure CSS code, using JavaScript for visual embellishment only — making these windows perfectly accessible to all users.

So-called modal windows are a different story, however, as they are seen as part of the underlying computer system, and often ignored by pop-up/pop-under blocking tools.

Enter CSS Modal (drublic.github.io/css-modal), a project by Hans Christian Reinl that brings old school style pop-up windows into the modern age, with these responsive, mobile friendly modal windows, that are accessible, cross-browser, fast, media-adaptive and small in file size.

According to its publisher, there are a lot of possibilities for including content in the modal window, including use of CSS and HTML, normal text, images, videos, i-frames with embedded services such as a contact form, and other applications. Modals consist of an optional header and footer section along with a main content area that is automatically scrollable if the modal window’s content is higher than the viewport has room to display.

One powerful feature is the ability to easily deep-link into the modal by including the element’s id as a hash in the URL, which can enable a lot of interactivity in a small space.

CSS Modal generates windows built entirely out of pure CSS code, using JavaScript for visual embellishment only — making these windows perfectly accessible to all users.

Optimized for mobile applications and sites, CSS Modal employs responsive web design methods and work on all screen sizes — from a small mobile feature phone up to high resolution screens — and everything in between. CSS Modal can also be used as a SASS plugin and applied to custom classes without the need to understand the intricacies of the code.

Since the markup and content for the modals needs to be included on your website, there may also be a positive effect on SEO from this additional material being indexed, providing an additional traffic opportunity.

While some coding projects may be daunting, adding CSS Modal windows is simple, even if it includes some uncommon tags.

CSS Modal produces modals designed to work on modern browsers, including IE 8, but does not support Internet Explorer 7 or lower. Although some browser variants will deliver better results than others, CSS Modal should work well on mobile Safari for iOS and Android, Windows Phone 8, Chrome, Firefox, Safari 6, Opera 12 and other browsers.

Released for free under the MIT license users can do pretty much whatever they want with it, so why not give CSS Modal a try and see if it boosts your site’s user engagement.

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