Is the "user control and freedom" heuristic violated if an "exit" option from an unwanted state is available, but the user has to put a lot of extra effort into exiting?

For example, in an e-commerce website, a user added a particular item with a quantity of 20; there is no delete or remove function available in the cart and the user cannot remove the item in a single click. To remove the item, the user has to click a minus button multiple times.

Does this violate the user control and freedom heuristic?

1 Answer 1


In the scenario you mention, yes, the heuristic is effectively violated. Introducing friction to exit a state is good if it helps error prevention (another heuristic) but in this case, the lack of easy removal is either an oversight, or an intentional hassle to encourage the user to not bother.

A user who accidentally placed 200 items in their cart would effectively need to start over and possibly clear their cookies.

You might also say this pattern violates:

  • Match between the system and the real world. The "real world" includes other systems. Online shoppers in 2020 expect a "remove from cart" or "set quantity to zero through typing" option.

  • Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors. A user who added an incorrect item or quantity to their cart needs an easy way to "undo" the action.


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