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I'm working on a UI that contains thousands of records organized into folders.

Users will have the ability to organize these folders - ie: Delete, Rename, Give Permissions to users, etc.

I'm concerned that users are going to inadvertently delete a folder that could have thousands of records in them.

To solve this, here are a couple ideas:

1) Provide a delete confirmation - but this isn't going to just be some popup/modal asking the user to confirm because a user can accidentally press "OK". It would require an extra step, say, "Type DELETE to confirm deletion" or something similar.

2) Provide a soft-delete feature or a Trash where users can recover deleted items.

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    The first is easier for your developers; the second is much nicer for your users. Is there a reason why you'd pick the first one? – maxathousand Mar 13 at 18:45
  • Depending on the complexity of the application, soft delete isn't too hard to implement technically, it's just adding some data access logic to only retrieve content which doesn't have a flag set. The complexity comes in conflict resolution when recovering files, or versioning etc. – dougajmcdonald Jul 10 at 9:56
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I would use both techniques if the second one is feasible for your workplace. However, if you are using both, you can make the first one just a LITTLE easier than typing a word by adding an extra step as the following:

enter image description here

The user needs to check the checkbox before deleting. The actual implementation disables the Delete button till the checkbox is checked. This way you add an extra step which is checking the check-box, and to avoid mistakenly clicking OK, the Delete button gets enabled only after the checkbox is checked.

  • Thanks for your answer! I've never actually seen an example in the wild where soft delete exists. Can you point out an example? Is it implemented as a recycle bin in the UI where you can restore delete items? Or do you have to contact Support to restore deleted items? – Liv Beng Mar 17 at 4:09
  • I think the way it gets implemented depends on the business needs (requirements). As far as design, Windows recycle bin is an example of an implementation to restore deleted data. When you delete a website account, some websites can retrieve your account and reactivate it when you contact customer service... – Mo'ath Mar 19 at 14:55
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I kind of agree with Mo'ath but I think he has missed a bit.

In the question, you state the folders may contain hundreds of files, therefore I think it is imperative to try and inform the user the consequence of deleting that folder, as such I think this is clearer about the consequence of the action.

enter image description here

  • Good addition. The warning message should state the consequences of the action. In my answer, the design I provided was just an example of the idea to add an extra step of confirmation before deleting. I left it to the OP to word the warning message the way it suites their application...I wonder which is better: To have the checkbox state the warning or have it separate as in your design (warning, then a checkbox "yes I want to...". – Mo'ath Jul 10 at 20:19

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