Back Button: How to design for it?

5 Jan 2006 - 3:15pm
8 years ago
5 replies
491 reads
bryan.haggerty ...
2005

My team and I have been running into the problem where our developers are
seeking to disable a user's ability to use the browser's back button.
Reason being, that pressing the back button in a web application runs the
risk of multiple submissions.

Has anyone had to deal with this type of situation and what were the
solutions or compromises?

Thanks,
Bryan Haggerty

Comments

5 Jan 2006 - 3:59pm
Barbara Ballard
2005

On Jan 5, 2006, at 2:15 PM, bryan at losingcontext.com wrote:
> My team and I have been running into the problem where our
> developers are
> seeking to disable a user's ability to use the browser's back button.
> Reason being, that pressing the back button in a web application
> runs the
> risk of multiple submissions.

This is something I've never understood. Couldn't a bit of code be
added to check to see whether a submission is a duplicate (defined by
same user, same session)?

In many cases, it could even be used to help save users' data entry.
If the information is the same, and the page is not the last one, the
duplicate submission would be ignored. Alternately the user could be
asked whether the information is intended to be resubmitted (depends
on context).

---
Barbara Ballard 1-785-838-3003
barbara at littlespringsdesign.com

5 Jan 2006 - 4:18pm
Shep McKee
2005

It depends, or course.

I won't get into the technical details, but your multiple submission
issue should be handled on the back end. If you don't want to allow
them to resubmit, then session/state management can be used to return
a different page to the user. For instance, a submit using GET or
POST could contain a unique ID. If this unique ID is part of another
submission, then the submission is not allowed and an appropriate
message is returned.

There's a long discussion starting 11/24/2004 in http://
groups.yahoo.com/group/agile-usability/

And both theory & implementation here: http://del.icio.us/shep.mckee/
backButtonIssues

On Jan 5, 2006, at 3:15 PM, bryan at losingcontext.com wrote:
> My team and I have been running into the problem where our
> developers are
> seeking to disable a user's ability to use the browser's back button.
> Reason being, that pressing the back button in a web application
> runs the
> risk of multiple submissions.
>
> Has anyone had to deal with this type of situation and what were the
> solutions or compromises?
>
> Thanks,
> Bryan Haggerty

5 Jan 2006 - 3:52pm
Dwayne King
2005

On 1/5/06, bryan at losingcontext.com <bryan at losingcontext.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> My team and I have been running into the problem where our developers are
> seeking to disable a user's ability to use the browser's back button.
> Reason being, that pressing the back button in a web application runs the
> risk of multiple submissions.

You could spawn in a new window w/o chrome. One catch, I usually use
safari, I tell it to spawn a new window in a new tab, so the chrome
stays, but the back button wouldn't be activated unless they moved to
a new page.

6 Jan 2006 - 6:21pm
Ockler, Sarah
2004

Why do the users want to click the back button - where are they trying
to go? Identify that and provide a different, simple way to get there.
What about adding a prominent page button or link that leads back to the
previous page, if that's what they're trying to do (like [Return to
<pagename>]). I assume something where they complete the info, click
submit, then try to use the back button from the submission confirmation
page to get back to the content of the site, which in this case would
take them back to the submit form. Is that correct?

Sarah

On Jan 5, 2006, at 3:15 PM, bryan at losingcontext.com wrote:
> My team and I have been running into the problem where our developers
> are seeking to disable a user's ability to use the browser's back
> button.
> Reason being, that pressing the back button in a web application runs
> the risk of multiple submissions.
>
> Has anyone had to deal with this type of situation and what were the
> solutions or compromises?
>
> Thanks,
> Bryan Haggerty

6 Jan 2006 - 6:46pm
Rajesh Sidharthan
2005

I have experienced the same situation that Bryan was talking about.

Once my dev team wanted to disable the back button to avoid multiple
credit card transactions.
In certain cases, hitting the back button would only put the user back
to the previous page, which would again automatically re-submit the form.
This could be a pretty dangerous situation.

Most of the time, people hit the back button NOT because they changed
their mind about making the purchase.
But, because they dont see any activity going on the screen or the
browser seems to have stalled although it is still attempting to
complete the transaction without the user being aware of it.

So there is the answer...
Have a friendly message that tells the user about what is going on. Show
a tiny animation that tells the user that the transaction is still going on.
Or if you want to be a bit more ambitious, show a percentage progress bar.

You could also disable the back button and let the user know that the
back button is temporarily disabled for the above mentioned reason.
You could also provide an option to terminate the submission.

</raj>

Ockler, Sarah wrote:

>[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>Why do the users want to click the back button - where are they trying
>to go? Identify that and provide a different, simple way to get there.
>What about adding a prominent page button or link that leads back to the
>previous page, if that's what they're trying to do (like [Return to
><pagename>]). I assume something where they complete the info, click
>submit, then try to use the back button from the submission confirmation
>page to get back to the content of the site, which in this case would
>take them back to the submit form. Is that correct?
>
>Sarah
>
>On Jan 5, 2006, at 3:15 PM, bryan at losingcontext.com wrote:
>
>
>>My team and I have been running into the problem where our developers
>>are seeking to disable a user's ability to use the browser's back
>>button.
>>Reason being, that pressing the back button in a web application runs
>>the risk of multiple submissions.
>>
>>Has anyone had to deal with this type of situation and what were the
>>solutions or compromises?
>>
>>Thanks,
>>Bryan Haggerty
>>
>>
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>

Syndicate content Get the feed