We have recurring donations that are able to be "cancelled" (meaning to cease its continued billing, not delete it from the interface). There is a button on our interface called "Cancel". When they hit the button, they get this dialog:

enter image description here

One of our users reported this to us:

I inadvertently canceled a gift. The popup had 2 choices: Cancel or Close. I thought Cancel meant cancel this operation - a little ambiguous.

What options/wording would be less ambiguous and more clear to the user?

  • @KenMohnkern my question is different because my question addresses an immediate action, whereas your question addresses a request for action. Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 17:01

5 Answers 5


I'm sure you should give a more detailed description of each operation. For example, cancel a gift, close the window. You can make a tooltip on each button with a description of the result obtained after pressing the button.


"Close dialogue" & "Yes, cancel the gift"

"Back" & "Cancel gift"

In the meantime you could also cut it in the root and offer a different terminology for "Cancel the gift" and call it, lets say "Remove the gift"

  • 1
    They don't delete or remove the gift, they are terminating it's continued billing. E.g. you "cancel" a subscription to Spotify, you don't "remove" it. Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 15:09
  • Well done for clarifying this Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 15:14

For positions:

Cultures writing from left to right, except the actually action in left, counter-action in right. So first thing I would change, would be the positions of the buttons.

For texts:

Cancel = "Cancel X (Cancel Gift, Cancel Operation)" to clarify that you cancel X, not dialog

Close = "Close X" or more neutral like "Not now, Continue X" etc.


So far all the answers seem to add too long labels. What you want is something clear and that gets right to the point. Why not try rewording the question?

Are you sure you want to abort sending this gift?

Options: Cancel (in grey) and Abort (Destructive option - red).

Or you could keep it even simpler by just adding yes and no. Yes would be in red as it's the destructive option.

  • The recurring gift has already been setup, they are cancelling its continued billing. E.g. cancelling a subscription to Spotify. Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 17:04
  • 1
    But I'm liking the yes/no direction. Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 17:06
  • I understand, when I create interfaces I try to reserve the cancel word only for the action of aborting from something
    – Philip RH
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 7:56

Both of the colors are pretty strong, and while grey is a 'neutral' color, its vibrancy in this context lends a parity to the option of Close when compared to Cancel.

Additionally, do you need two buttons?

My suggestion would be to make two changes, color and button. Make it very clear what actions are possible here and what those actions do:

enter image description here

  • well, I don't think the color is as dark as I would like on the link - you're not really able to see the underline indicating it's a link to click. However, I think my point is made (and I already closed out of Illustrator so I can't fix it). :) Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 18:17

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