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I have an idea regarding deletion buttons...

The usual idea is to either present confirmation modals or allow undoing.

My idea to avoid accidental destructive actions is a little bit different: Require clicking the Delete button two times for the action to be effective.

  • If a user accidentally clicks the Delete button once and sees no effect, then well, mission accomplished. If they wanted to instead do X but don't see X done, they are very likely to attempt X again: however, to my intuition, this delay should be enough to take them off "auto mode" and make them pay more attention to where they are clicking.
  • If the user purposefuly clicks the Delete button once and sees no effect, then no big deal, they are likely to click it again. I suppose this should work even without any messages; however, to avoid unpleasant surprises of the sort of "WTF The app is unresponsive" it seems reasonable to put an unobstructive message below the Delete button in the lines of "Click again to confirm". Or maybe simply relabel the button from "Delete" to "Delete (1/2)" or anything of the sort.
  • Once the user becomes accustomed to the pattern they will know that to delete things they have to click twice. Clicking twice is not a big burden on the user, but it should make certain that every click on the Delete button is intentional: after all, every other click will be a single click.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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download bmml source

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download bmml source

Does this hold any water? Is this worth trying? Or is this a silly idea, but I'm not seeing why?

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    This breaks a very important rule of UX, which is, never change the default behavior of an element. A button is always a single-click CTA. This has been done in touch devices where back buttons on homescreens show a message, "tap once more to exit the application". It prevents users from exiting the application accidentally. However, the same doesn't translate well over to point-and-click devices – Shreyas Tripathy Mar 25 at 5:48
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    Hi @gaazkam... Its great to see you come up with a whole new deletion process wireflow. But, I think it is better to give an unobstructive message to undo the deletion; a major fact being - why make the user always double click delete button as only about 90 - 95% clicks would be unintentional. It depends on the intensity/color/placement of the delete button too. And just make them click the undo button if they did it accidentally (like in gmail). – Kishan Mar 25 at 9:40
  • I already saw such a pattern somewhere. It can be an interesting alternative, because you do not need to move the mouse from the button to the center of the screen (or wherever the popup opens). You may avoid using doubleclick, but require a second between the clicks, to avoid users getting used to "I need to click faster" and still deleting things they did not really want to delete. You can provide an option to disable the behaviour for users who like to have the usual confirmation dialog instead. – allo Mar 25 at 12:42
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    What you're requiring is two clicks, not a single double-click. These are two entirely different things. – 17 of 26 Mar 25 at 18:48
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    @17of26 Edited... – gaazkam Mar 25 at 19:24
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I would say to avoid this because of:

  1. Affordance. It's not obvious the user needs to click twice to delete until they try it/do it the first time. Many users are skittish to try things they don't fully understand, especially when it comes to destructive actions like deletion.

  2. Overloading. Double clicking already means something in a lot of UIs, so re-purposing it would be confusing.

  3. Convention. If most people do something one way, it's important to keep doing it that way just because most people do it that way (to maximize your users' intuition). I understand your question was more theoretical, but it's a very tall mountain you have to climb before you would actually do something nonstandard like this.

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    As far as the affordance goes, I think there could be very elegant ways of making this obvious, such as something appearing in the UI upon first click that specifically states something like: "Want to delete this item? Click delete one more time to confirm". So long as this element doesn't cause any delay in the ability to click again. Not saying it is the best way to design it, but there's no real reason to say it won't work without testing it. – sharkonaut Mar 25 at 4:08
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I think most UX designers will tell you not to do this. It's not a common pattern, it's not obvious at first, etc. But I'm a big fan of testing things and basing decisions off data rather than heuristics or gut.

I think if you go this route, make the indicator a little more elegant than "1/2". Maybe a small pop up that points at the delete button and says something to the effect of "Delete Item 1? Click again to confirm". As long as they don't have to wait for this to appear and can freely double click, it won't be a burden.

I was recently using a dashboard that makes me type the word "confirm" in a text box to confirm the deletion of an item. I think as long as you are 1) accomplishing your goal (reducing accidental deletions), and 2) it doesn't hurt the user's goal (for example if it made deleting something burdensome, which it doesn't seem like it would), then you can implement it how you see fit. So don't let anyone tell you otherwise unless they have data to back it up.

And to that point, go get data on whether this works as a pattern. And I don't mean have someone test it once or twice. See how your users feel after they have deleted 10, 50, 100 items. At that point they'll know whether this pattern is A) really awesome, or B) super annoying. Good luck!

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You are intending two clicks to delete, which should be fine if you change the button label after the first click.

Delete --click-> Really? --click-> Deleted.

Wordpress is using this pattern.

You should always provide an undo, like using a Trash or showing a confirmation of deletion along with an undo action.

Best would be if you test your pattern with some users, 3 to 5 are usually enough to show you if there is a general problem. Provide them with a task like "delete the third item", ask them to think aloud when they interact, and don't help them.

A double-click is the act of pressing a computer mouse button twice quickly without moving the mouse – Wikipedia

This is not accessible to touch screen or keyboard users, and doesn't provide an affordance.

  • You mention accessibility, so I'll place this comment here: Windows users (and likely supported many other operating systems) are allowed to change their mouse settings to increase the double-click delay to much longer than the standard "rapid-click" most users are used to. This is an important accessibility feature for some users that would not be available in a web environment. However, assuming the site is accessible in most other standard ways, navigating to a second button to confirm their deletion should still be manageable. – maxathousand Mar 25 at 16:07
  • * This is not accessible to touch screen or keyboard users* - Why not? I can tap twice, I can press Enter twice. I don't need the "doubleclick" to be recognized as such by the OS. I simply press the button once, register it was pressed, wait for it to be pressed once again. This second activation can occur 1/4 sec after the first one or 2 mins after the first one – gaazkam Mar 25 at 16:10
  • "Why not? I can tap twice" I just wanted to make it clear that doubleclick is well-defined technically, and that "click twice" is something else.To avoid confusion. – Andy Mar 25 at 16:20

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