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Monday, April 02, 2007

Confirmation Dialogs vs. Undo dilemma

I just deleted a content section from my yahoo homepage. No confirmation, no UNDO. Its just GONE....

When designing a user interface, developers always have to take into account the dilemma between the ease of use, and safety/compliance.

One example of such dilemma is confirmation boxes. Many application UIs are designed by developers with development skill sets in mind. That means, and extra confirmation box is OK. However, for most users, that choice of UI is pretty annoying. The other extreme, is to let the user take full responsibilities for his actions: if he makes a mistake, he's at fault, and we have a CYA because we can show him an audit trail of how he made the mistake. And than, there's the great compromise - let you user do everything he needs, but provide a full UNDO functionality. This is the hardest to implement, yet, provides the easiest and most convenient UI.

Here are the perfect example: Why do we need a confirmation box when deleting a file in windows, if it will go into the recycle been anyway, and I will be able to restore it?

Google homepage has a great example of how things should be done: when you click on the X to close the content section, the home page shows a link that allows you to UNDO the operation. Easy, clean, does exactly what it needs to do.


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