The new pop-up message style is pretty, I guess, if you like making text smaller and smaller, but I don't find its "close" mechanism very functional.

enter image description here

Previously, this notification would go away when clicking anywhere on it; now with this smaller version, I have to move to an even smaller little box with my mouse to dismiss it.

Can we have "click-to-close" back on the whole pop-up, please?

  • 2
    I'm guessing the old one was click outside to close because it was a modal, and this thingy didn't inherent that. But I see zero reason clicking elsewhere shouldn't close this too
    – Zelda
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 0:57
  • 7
    See also Fitts' Law
    – Doorknob
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 0:57
  • 27
    @Doorknob: I stopped reading that article at Macintosh menus are faster to navigate :) Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 0:58
  • 2
    I've just started to get into the font changes on SO. Well, I'm almost satisfied with that, but this popup style is really annoying without the "whole click to close" functionality (not talking about the weird, not centered close button position).
    – TLama
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 2:02
  • 5
    Also, every popup on the site can be closed with Esc - it's the only way to fly for me. Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 2:04
  • 3
    @JarrodDixon even before was more user friendly .. i(think many other too) dont use keyboard on closing question in many case .. Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 3:39
  • this is same with the close vote dialog have to click on cross button to close it Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 3:40
  • 7
    I never use Esc for anything; you never know what you're gonna get. Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 12:35
  • 1
    I just took a screenshot and started typing out a long post before I found this! This change is really irritating. Either "click (outside) tooltip to dismiss" should be brought back, or these should auto-close after a few secs.
    – Karan
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 15:46
  • 6
    @Lightness ESC is like a box of chocolates. Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 21:41
  • See also: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/167639/… Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 1:14
  • Seems this has been implemented, for the red boxes. The blue ones fade out automatically now too.
    – Arjan
    Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 14:47
  • @Arjan Been implemented for the blue as well.
    – ɥʇǝS
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 22:54
  • Okay this is much better now. I still don't like the tiny notification boxes but, otherwise, job done. Thanks. Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 9:59
  • Now I'm tempted to try to close this question so I can click the box.
    – Undo
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 23:29

2 Answers 2


Here's what happened:

We're currently going through an overhaul of our error styles to make them prettier, more consistent, and more user-friendly, and this one got lumped in accidentally, along with several others.

This is not an error, and shouldn't be displayed as such.

We will fix these over the next few days.


New error styles

I see that there might be some confusion between our new red and blue error/notification pop-ups and our big white "modal" pop-ups.

As to the former, we have talked it over and we are going to be moving over the next week to four different pop-up styles:

  • Error, require action – These will be red and will need to be either manually closed or they will be closed automatically when we detect that the problem is solved (standard errors)
  • Error, no action required – These will be red and will fade out after one second. No manual closing will be required (time-limited throttling errors)
  • Notification, request action – These will be blue and require manual closure (for situations where we would like the user to do something in response to the notification)
  • Notification, no action required – These will be blue and will fade away after one second (standard confirm type things)

I know I said that we probably wouldn't use pop-ups here, but it looks like we'll be using the fourth type to fix this specific situation. We will not be implementing click outside to close on these pop-ups

New "modal" styles

These are the big white newly styled "modal" pop-ups that we use for things like the close dialog.

I think some of the commenters below might have been referring to these. We do in fact plan on adding click outside to close to these.

  • Sorry, maybe I missed the resolution ("shouldn't be displayed as such"). So will all the popups be closable as before (by the "whole click") or we'll have to close them using that button (I'm just lazy to use the ESC button, since it's too far to press :-) ?
    – TLama
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 2:30
  • I guess I'm saying, in this case, we're not going to use pop-ups at all. So the issue of whether they are closable or not will not apply.
    – Jeremy T
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 3:18
  • Sounds good and I'm looking forward to see that. OT: Anyway, how about those "you can do this in x seconds, click to reset timer" ones ? Those won't be pop-ups anymore ?
    – TLama
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 3:25
  • I'll definitely put that one on the list too. There are a lot of them :)
    – Jeremy T
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 3:49
  • 4
    @JeremyTunnell: "we're not going to use pop-ups at all." ... I'm curious as to how that's going to work. Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 5:21
  • 12
    This answer is completely unclear. What do you mean by "error style"? With what did this pop-up get "lumped in"? What isn't an error -- the box, the close action, or the fact that it has this new form? Finally, if this new kind of box is the result of making things more "user-friendly", you might consider this question to be a statement that it's not more user-friendly than the previous version -- it's harder to deal with.
    – jscs
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 7:41
  • 1
    Okay, thanks Jeremy. Perhaps this sort of thing can be trialled on Meta before being rolled-out live to Stack Overflow, as has been done in the past? Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 12:36
  • 1
    That is considerably clearer; thank you for the expanded explanation.
    – jscs
    Commented Feb 16, 2013 at 8:12
  • 2
    One second? That hardly seems like enough time. Commented Feb 16, 2013 at 14:43
  • 4
    Why not just let people close them immediately? I already know what its going to say, I don't want to wait a second. Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 19:41
  • 11
    @JeremyTunnell: Yea, but that's the point. For 3 years, there was no X. It worked great, you could just click the box itself. Why add an X now? Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 21:17
  • 5
    @JeremyTunnell: Not being able to quickly close these is extremely annoying. For example, if I try to upvote a comment and I haven't waited long enough, a dialog box shows up. I already know what it is and just want it to go away, but now I have to actually take focus on it and click the tiny X button. Before I had muscle memory that I could move the mouse down slightly and click, much easier. What is lost by letting users do that?
    – GManNickG
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 21:56
  • 3
    If the message is just going to auto-fade, then chances are people won't be able to read it before it disappears. It's easy to say you don't see the need, but in reality changing the way something's worked for several years "just because" is a bad excuse :) It's an awkward change that makes me click the popups one or two times just before noticing I actually have to search the X to finally close them.
    – slhck
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 9:02
  • 4
    I urge — beg, even — you to please, please, please never make us navigate to a very tiny and hard-to-hit X in any sort of routine dismissal box. Even better, allow for keyboard dismissal via the ESC key or a simple RETURN. Pretty please with sugar on it. Don’t make us hook up a joy stick just to navigate SO: this isn’t supposed to be a video game. Hm, or is it? :)
    – tchrist
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 1:26
  • 5
    Sorry for the frustration on these error messages. I assure you it is not my intention to make things harder for our core users. I wanted to make sure we took the time to think through any more changes before they went out, and it looks like there's no harm done if we make all of the messages closable by clicking inside or on the X. Escape will still work and the non-action-requesting errors and messages will auto close, as before.
    – Jeremy T
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 15:42

I am for the new error style proposal, except that I'd remove the close button and make all the pop-ups closable by clicking on them whenever you want (without the need of waiting for them to close with a 1 second delay with 2 seconds fadeout e.g.).

In short; if you see a popup (whatever kind) and click inside of it, it fades out (quickly). And, there would not need to be a close button. Just like before except the new style and the automatic fading out, which could be interrupted by closing a popup whenever user wants by clicking inside of it.

I see, that you're trying to save the space occupied by the "click to close" info, but it's in the cost of user friendliness in my view.

Do you really want to hunt a close button, press ESC, or wait 3 seconds at pop-ups without it, to hide them ?


That's how I feel from the currently deployed version of pop-ups:

Jumping smiley

  • 1
    Regardless of adding additional ways to close the box, I'd not remove the close button. To me, it serves as a common indication that the thing is closable; much better than the old "(click on this box to dismiss)".
    – Arjan
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 7:38
  • @Arjan, there's IMHO only one way. Either go with the close button or with the click-to-close. Consider, how users might be confused if they'd see the close button and accidentally click inside the pop-up (and it would close).
    – TLama
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 15:51
  • So you would even want that text back? And add "or press Esc" to that? Otherwise it would be confusing if it were closed by hitting Esc too. Oh, wait, adding "or press Esc" is confusing for mobile users. Still, if that would be the choice, then I'd vote for the small button. Looks much better to me. (And I just use Esc to close it, or simply leave it open -- it's often just a small thing nowadays and I'd probably navigate away from the page soonish anyhow.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 15:57
  • What about to use a hint for the whole pop-up box (classic hover hint). The close button has it now, and it would resolve the problem with saving place of the "click to close" text.
    – TLama
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 16:26

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