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How can i make sure my Users understand that when they delete a file on the cloud, it is deleted for everyone else in the organization as well?

It seems a decent amount of our users don't understand that they are in a public workspace, or don't get the concept.

I don't want to use warning dialogs, because those are usually ignored, and can get quite annoying.

Edit: the cloud is used by companies for storing projects created with our product, I'm currently reworking the delete function. Our company doesn't do a lot of user research, so all know is what the product owner told me.

I have tried different things,

  • having a "xx workspace members" indicator on screen
  • Writing "Delete for everyone" instead of "Delete"
  • Renaming the "Projects" tab to "Team-Projects"

But nothing is foolproof enough to convince my coworkers and the PO. They insist on having a big confirmation dialog explaining to the user exactly why what he is doing might(!) be a bad idea.

I don't think anyone is going to read it, and there is no tangible way for us to know whether deleting this specific file is a problem. So we would have to show it every time.

I would like for the user to implicitly understand the concept of our Cloud storage.

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  • This forum works best when you provide some concrete examples of your efforts so far. Show us more of the context, and what solutions you're considering.
    – Mike M
    Oct 27, 2021 at 14:06
  • updated the post
    – Ubus99
    Oct 27, 2021 at 14:51

2 Answers 2

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It might be that the issue starts way before the deletion of a file. These user are obviously not aware that they are working in a shared space, where they probably should not save private stuff.

It would be interesting to understand why the users delete files they are not supposed to. Is it because they do not want to see it? Do they really want to delete it? Do they delete it by accident? Is the shared space even a need to them?

Having said so. I like your approach especially the "Delete for everyone" idea. This way the call to action shows exactly what it does. I even think this should be sufficient. I totally agree with you that most user do not read modal messages and just click any button to close it, since it is in their way.

So, if a file should almost never be deleted and cannot be restored easily, you can force the user to read the modal message by putting a checkbox in the message saying "I'm aware that the file will be deleted for everyone and cannot be restored". The deletion button will only be active if the checkbox is checked.

BUT: only use this pattern in an extrem situation where the result might have a big probably unwanted not reversable impact. Im very unsure if your case is one of these.

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Users will either expect a confirmation before a destructive action, or a way to undo it. If your system has neither right now, they might be thinking that the file wasn't really deleted, and maybe it's still recoverable somewhere.

Option 1: Very simple confirmation dialog that explains what will happen - "example.docx is shared with 5 users." [Cancel] [Delete for Everyone]

Option 2: No confirmation, but a message that appears after deletion that says something like "example.docx deleted for 5 users. [Undo]"

Option 3: The biggest lift - have a Deleted Items section that keeps files for a period of time, and let the user recover them if needed. It's the friendliest way to help users who might change their mind on a deletion, whether or not a file is shared. It's also a nice pattern if your user can select multiple files and delete them in one action.

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