file under: UI Pontification
Firefox Ditches the Dialog Box | Webmonkey�| Wired.com
Modal dialogs are confusing and frustrating. I hate the way they insistently blink at me when I try to click outside, demanding my attention before I can do what I want, forcing me to think on their rails. Outside of a few rare, special cases, modal interactions are a crutch that should be avoided wherever possible.
Non-modal boxes are... clunky. They get lost easily or they get in the way. They probably still have their uses, but as a design paradigm, they will be eclipsed.
Doing better may not be easy, but the sign of the dialog box is declining. Human interfaces are maturing, slowly, painfully.