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Sometimes you can see a box appearing telling you you can't upvote if you don't have enough rep or telling you you can't accept your own answer yet and so on (I hope you get what I'm talking about).

For now you have to click inside the box to dismiss it.

Wouldn't it be more user-friendly and less surprising for the user if you just had to click outside the box to dismiss it?

I regularly forget that I have to click inside so I click outside (the usual behavior of such overlays is to disappear when the user clicks outside imo); then nothing happens so I read the box. Then I click inside to close it. But it Makes me think!

Isn't having to specify how to close the box a sign of bad design?

What do you think?

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2 Answers 2

Clicking within the box has one behavior: dismissing the box.

Clicking outside the box is … indeterminate.

What if I click the upvote arrow on another post? Does that dismiss the box, or cast a vote? Or both? What if I click the "expand comments" action? Or the "Post Your Answer" button?

Now you've made me think again! :)

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"Now you've made me think again!" - I see what you did there. :P –  jjnguy Dec 10 '09 at 9:23
3  
Then what about the classic "X" link on the top right corner of the box? Anything that doesn't require text to explain what to do for such a simple action. –  Guillaume Flandre Dec 10 '09 at 9:25
    
you know, we want you to read what is in the box. Really! –  Jeff Atwood Dec 10 '09 at 10:56

Definitely, definitely not.

This was what User Voice does, or at least did - if you were going across multiple tabs, and happened to click outside the box, it would dismiss the dialog box - even if you had important text in there.

It's far too easy to catch clicks which are nothing to do with a dialog - if they're outside the box, they shouldn't affect the box IMO.

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