Computers often ask us to confirm our intentions. Asking ‘Are you sure you want to do that?’ is a useful way to reduce input errors, but the way this question is posed is inconsistent. We could improve the user experience – and reduce errors – by making it more consistent.
Here are a couple of current inconsistencies that introduce unnecessary mental overhead, and making error prevention less effective:
Positioning of ‘confirm’ and ‘do not confirm’ options
When deleting a tweet in Hootsuite, the placement of the ‘confirm’ button is on the left; in twitter it’s on the right:
Note that both highlight the user’s probable intended action – ‘confirm deletion’.
Use of highlighting to show the user’s probable intended action
Not everywhere uses highlighting:
How could we improve our popup messages to make them more consistent and useful?
Some rules for creating better confirm and reject popups
- Place the ‘confirm’ option on the right and the ‘do not confirm’ option on the left.
- Make your option buttons descriptive so that it’s very clear what each option entails.
Avoid using the generic ‘Okay’ – instead, use imperatives like ‘Delete’.
- Highlight the action the user probably intended to take.
- If the user is about to do something potentially dangerous, grey out the ‘confirm’ option for a couple of seconds.
Additional popups are annoying. If you really need to make someone wait to read a message – eg if you want them to confirm running a file they downloaded from the internet – grey out the ‘confirm’ option for a couple of seconds like Firefox does: