I am struggling with the design of my web application.

I am showing a dialog for my Create/Edit item views:

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Thats fine so far for the Edit/Create view.

But how should the dialog look when the user wants to delete some items?

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I really want to show the delete item stuff in a dialog, because it does not fit at all into my main layout.

What do you think about the Delete organisation unit dialog?

What do you expect when an item is selected and you press the delete button?


What would you expect now when the delete button is pressed and some units are selected for deletion? Should the dialog close or not? and WHY ?

  • Have you thought of the button labeled Close?
    – dnbrv
    Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 18:34

3 Answers 3


From your layout screen I assume one can select multiple items and press delete. On doing so, if the dialog still remains open, probably a Close button would make more sense than cancel. Otherwise Cancel is just fine.

Also, have you considered moving all cancel/close to a window close layout (window action control on top right on Windows and top left on Mac)? This is the way going forward in most applications as this saves space, keeps the UI less cluttered and utilizes platform default standards to close a dialog/window.

  • Upvoted specifically for the second paragraph. Commented Apr 20, 2012 at 2:22
  • I updated my question! :)
    – Pascal
    Commented Apr 22, 2012 at 18:41
  • There are still 3 approaches and you need to decide on use-case. 1) You close the dialog/replace the dialog content with a success message on successful deletion or show an error message in same dialog somewhere on failure. The disadvantage is that user will be stuck on this dialog until the task is complete and an acknowledgement is received from the system which is synchronous task. 2) Make the dialog asynchronous and close it. On success or failure show the another alert box. 3) If the user is expected to delete frequently, keep him/her on same dialog with message. This is also synchronous.
    – djagatram
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 7:13

I think Delete is a high risk operation, so do not discard warning because you try to save place or make the UI clear.

My opinion is if the delete object is not very important(like it doesn't include other information in it), your third design is ok - click delete to delete them, or click X to close the window. After you click Delete, give a warning message on you webpage, tell user he/she deletes something, he/she can undo it, and it disappears before next operation.

If the delete object is very important, you should give warning message just on the window and give two button like Sure, I am sure; No, I don't want to delete it.


Using the dialog I suggest to use a "Back To..." button instead of the "Cancel"; even "Close" may create confusion in some user and "Back To..." it's now a more familiar concept for many user. In the dialog per se a check box on the left of every line of items will help the user too.

  • Why should "Back To..." be a more familiar concept for many user NOW ?
    – Pascal
    Commented Apr 22, 2012 at 19:18

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