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We have an interface where users can search for a customer. The customer details page has a 'close' button which at the moment means the user will go back to the Customer Search page. In other words:

Customer Search --> Customer Details --> 'Close' --> Customer Search

However, some customers are related to others in some way (e.g. parent and child).

Customer Search --> Customer Details --> Related Customer Details

Therefore when the user goes into customer details and then the child customer details, they get the same normal customer interface layout and breadcrumb. So in this case the link would be

Customer Search / Customer A Details

Customer Search / Customer B Details (.... who is the child, or related in some other way)

However, the 'close' button on the customer details page is causing confusion because it could mean:

a) Go 'up' to the customer search page

b) Go 'back' to the parent

We could track the customer journey and then change the breadcrumb as appropriate, eg

Customer Search / Customer A Details / Children Details / Customer B Details

which would then hopefully make it clear what the 'close' button does. Or implement a back button (that just calls the last page in the browser history)? Both?

The problem I forsee with tracking the user journey is that it appears to replcate the browser back button and potentially could get very very long and complicated to track, especially if the user branches off into sub information about a related customer. Or editing details. When would you stop?

Any best practice, further reading or even a searchable phrase / description for this problem would be a great help.

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Tricky one, as a 'Close' button should do what it says and close the window/details. Labeling it as 'Back' would be the correct label as you are using it as a back functionality.

I get what you say about it replicating the back button of a browser, but that's what it is doing so that's not a problem to use the terminology. However i would consider 'Back to search' then you can take them back to the default search screen, and allow the back button of the browser to track the journey and take them back step by stem, as long as it does work.

The label of a button should always be explicit to give users a clear indication of what to expect once they interact with the button.

This all depends on what your interface is and how users expect to use it. Maybe try asking users what functionality would they expect there and what would they need if it is not there.

Create a prototype test with real users and iterate, don't worry about making it perfect the first time, as long as you can improve it with feedback from users.

Hope that helps

  • Yeah. We have been thinking about it and, as you say, better to be explicit and keep things simple. I think we'll get rid of the 'close' button and have links to parents/children and searches. Thanks. – alj Apr 8 at 14:54

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