Confirmation Dialog Boxes

10 Feb 2009 - 8:36pm
5 years ago
9 replies
1211 reads
Nonie Kimpitak
2009

I'm in the process of creating the "Delete" and "Save"
confirmations for a web app. In most cases, I prefer to label
buttons according to the action being performed. But in this case, in
order to answer the question being posed, it seems as though I should
be using "Yes" and "No" buttons.

DELETE: "Are you sure you want to permanently delete your
selection?"
- [Yes] = delete and return to page
- [No] = skip deletion and return to page

SAVE: "You are navigating away from the page. Would you like to save
your changes before proceeding?"
- [Yes] = save changes and proceed to selected page
- [No] = won't save changes and proceed to selected page
- [Cancel] = won't save changes and return to original page

Would it make sense to replace "Yes" with "Delete" and "Save"
respectively so that the user knows exactly what action will occur,
even though it's not correctly answering the question?

Does anyone know of any reference/s discussing proper verbiage for
dialog boxes?

Comments

11 Feb 2009 - 3:28am
Jeroen Elstgeest
2008

Confirmation questions themselves have the problem of not really being read.
Meaning people click Yes / OK / Delete etc... and then ask themselves what
they just clicked. It becomes an automatism. I personally like the undo
option after I performed an action, like Gmail does, more. That way it's
less obtrusive. The "Save"-scenario is a little different offcourse, you can
do multiple (preemptive) things, but I can't say because I don't know what
your application does.

But I do agree with you that you should label buttons with the task they
perform / explicitly state the call to action.

On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 2:36 AM, Nonie <noniekimp at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'm in the process of creating the "Delete" and "Save"
> confirmations for a web app. In most cases, I prefer to label
> buttons according to the action being performed. But in this case, in
> order to answer the question being posed, it seems as though I should
> be using "Yes" and "No" buttons.
>
> DELETE: "Are you sure you want to permanently delete your
> selection?"
> - [Yes] = delete and return to page
> - [No] = skip deletion and return to page
>
> SAVE: "You are navigating away from the page. Would you like to save
> your changes before proceeding?"
> - [Yes] = save changes and proceed to selected page
> - [No] = won't save changes and proceed to selected page
> - [Cancel] = won't save changes and return to original page
>
> Would it make sense to replace "Yes" with "Delete" and "Save"
> respectively so that the user knows exactly what action will occur,
> even though it's not correctly answering the question?
>
> Does anyone know of any reference/s discussing proper verbiage for
> dialog boxes?
> ________________________________________________________________
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11 Feb 2009 - 4:04am
Wouter Leistra
2009

I always experience dialogs like save and delete as very disturbing. I
mean for delete an action which most of the time cannot be undone i
understand you want to ask confirmation from the user. So in that
case a form a dialog would be necessary. But for save I always prefer
to use a small visual feedback to the user that the action is
performed the action itself would go underwater not requiring any
more action than the action to save from the user.

In case you insist using dialogs I dont prefer the yes/no/cancel
buttons. I always find it better to use the action in the button.
"Delete this selection" which would be the main button and the
alternative "Go back" which is not main so i like to represent that
one as a regular link.

In case of the save dialog it would be "Save changes and proceed",
"Don't save the changes and proceed" buttons and the "Go back"
regular link. Go back could also be something similar to "close this
dialog".

In my experience users tend to pay more attention to making the right
decision and it is a very clear way to avoid users from getting
confused between "no" and "cancel".

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11 Feb 2009 - 5:59am
Paul H Greasby
2009

Take a look at Apple's OSX dialogue boxes. Apple uses contextual
labels extensively.

Often the dialogue prompt will point to a Yes/No kind of response,
but the options will be more contextual. Example, a dialogue box
asking the user to confirm saving a file, might be titled "Do you
want to save the file" and have the responses "Save" and "Don't
Save", rather than Yes and No.

The essentials in any dialogue is to clearly state the question and
the options. There's rarely any reason to use Yes and No in such
situations as more context is nearly always available and will really
help prevent user frustration.

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11 Feb 2009 - 6:07am
Wouter Leistra
2009

@Paul H Greasby, you are fully right about the use of contextual
labels by the OSX operating system. It just surprises me that this
very user friendly way of presenting options of action to the user
hardly haven't found its way to the web environment.

At least most services I use on the web go with the conventional
"Microsoft way" of handling this (yes/no/cancel).

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11 Feb 2009 - 9:22am
Andrea Richeson
2008

I agree about the "Yes" and "No" buttons. Contextual wording
seems to capture the users' attention and manages expectations.

So, what do you all suggest for a 'Cancel' button that performs
like the browser back button? I'm struggling with the appropriate
wording.

For example, from an Account Summary screen, I click on a 'View
Transactions' link that takes me to a page to review transactions.
The out-of-the-box decision was to use the 'Cancel' button to
return to the previous Account Summary"screen. This type of view
function is used all over the application. A button that says
"Return to the ScreenName screen" seems a little wordy, but at
least very clear. Your thoughts?

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11 Feb 2009 - 10:06am
vzambrano
2008

Two things:

1. I find it ideal when a choice of button labels allows a person to
decide what to do even without reading the question, as many people
don't read alerts. Not saying it is always possible, but if achieved
(i.e. Save/Revert) is very useful.

2. "Cancel" on an alert/dialogue box seems to be always confusing,
as people might not know what's to be expected afterwards. Options
as "I'll decide later" or others relevant to the context might be
much more useful.

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11 Feb 2009 - 1:03pm
Christopher Jam...
2009

I design under the assumption that most people won't read the message, so

1. keep it short;
2. use button labels that make sense in the absence of the message; and
3. rephrase the message so that the buttons are a logical response to the
message.

You might consider something like the following.

You are about to permanently delete your selection.
[Delete] [Cancel]

You have unsaved changes.
[Stay on this page] [Discard changes]

On Tue, Feb 10, 2009 at 8:36 PM, Nonie <noniekimp at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'm in the process of creating the "Delete" and "Save"
> confirmations for a web app. In most cases, I prefer to label
> buttons according to the action being performed. But in this case, in
> order to answer the question being posed, it seems as though I should
> be using "Yes" and "No" buttons.
>
> DELETE: "Are you sure you want to permanently delete your
> selection?"
> - [Yes] = delete and return to page
> - [No] = skip deletion and return to page
>
> SAVE: "You are navigating away from the page. Would you like to save
> your changes before proceeding?"
> - [Yes] = save changes and proceed to selected page
> - [No] = won't save changes and proceed to selected page
> - [Cancel] = won't save changes and return to original page
>
> Would it make sense to replace "Yes" with "Delete" and "Save"
> respectively so that the user knows exactly what action will occur,
> even though it's not correctly answering the question?
>
> Does anyone know of any reference/s discussing proper verbiage for
> dialog boxes?
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Reply to this thread at ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=38477
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

15 Feb 2009 - 8:13pm
Sara Durning
2009

I can't keep up with group feeds, so just deleted a few groups from
the Linked In account.

Really like how it was done. Very clear and primary action was a
button, while secondary action a link ...

Confirm this Action
Are you sure you want to leave this group?
Ys, leave group [button] or Cancel [link]

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15 Feb 2009 - 11:44pm
DampeS8N
2008

Don't confirm. Offer undo.

Or if you are Tivo, offer undo but confirm anyway to be pointless and
even slower.

But seriously. Assume the user knows what they are doing and give
them a way to reverse what they did without forcing them to confirm
what they did if they meant it.

iGoogle does this pretty well if you remove something from your page.
Would be better if it lasted for more than one page load.

Having a trash-bin where you have some amount of time to remove
things (or until space requires them to be removed) is a good option
too.

In that case, I say don't let people empty the trash. Give an
expected to stay for so-long number. Kind of like Tivo does. Only
don't confirm also. Tivo is good and moronic all at the same time.

If you must confirm, do like iGoogle and assume they meant to do what
they did but give them an immediate way out if they didn't mean to.
At least then you aren't bothering the 95% who meant to do it.

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