Clarification: Let me clarify first: By double-click I mean clicking something twice but not in a quick succession.

So here is the question/suggestion: Usually on the web applications, designers have two choices when it comes to potentially dangerous actions: A confirm popup/overlay/dialog box or providing Undo.

Example: For example, if I wanted to Delete an email in Gmail I can do it quickly, but then I can undo the action until I move away from that page. On the other hand, on iOS, when you delete an app, you have to confirm this with a popup.

I find the popup confirmations annoying, especially when dealing with multiple actions in a short period of time. I also think Undo does not apply to all situation.

For example, if I give my users an option of "Send" for an email, I'd have to send it "now" and undo doesn't make sense once the email is sent.

Suggestion: So here is what I'm thinking: Use a Send button that changes to "Sure?" and performs the act when clicked again.

The difference between this and a popup is that the button goes back to "Send" after a timeout, unlike the popup which blocks the UI and needs an answer either way.

What do you think? What do you think about this approach?

  • Are you specifically interested in the use-case of sending an email? The answers could vary depending on the situation.
    – JonW
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 9:50
  • Not specifically. I need to allow confirmation of actions in my web app and would like to keep them consistent as opposed to using three different ways: popups, undo and the two-stage confirmation.
    – Khash
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 10:36
  • 1
    Suggestion: edit the question title to say "...through clicking twice" or "...through two clicks" or similar.
    – callum
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 17:25
  • In case anyone is interested in a Rails 3.1 implementation of this, here is a sample in Stackoverflow: stackoverflow.com/questions/10208462/…
    – Khash
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 11:57

3 Answers 3


The problem I can see here it that users are liable to get in the habit of simply double clicking instead of a single click. It may slow them down slightly, but probably not enough to prevent the action occuring.

With email I've seen other ideas which may be better, like only putting up a confirm dialog when you're mailing someone you don't normally communicate with. The idea being that if you say something stupid to a new contact it's more embarrassing than saying something stupid to your friend.

Thunderbird also does things like look for the word attach (amongst others), and stop you if there is no file attached.

In other words - think about what the risks are of the action, and whether you can detect common hazards - and only throw up a confirm dialog if you think you detect a hazard. That way users will be grateful for the intrusion, rather than resentful of it.


This article may help you: Never Use a Warning When you Mean Undo, by Aza Raskin.

The author recommends allowing users undo their actions, instead of showing warning messages.

interfaces that don’t respect habituation are very bad. Making the warning bigger, louder, and impossible-to-ignore doesn’t seem to work; any way we look at it, warnings lead us into a big black interface pit. So let’s get rid of the warning altogether.

  • That's an excellent article.
    – John N
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 14:44

This is a good idea, but not on the same button.

You can do always a two step action / confirm but separating it in two different buttons / links and, maybe with a little "loading / performing action" animation.

"Send" (this is a button); On click you can disable it and show a short "loading" animation with a text "performing action" to let understand user that something happen; Last step show a new button / link with confirmation.

Seems a very long procedure but it's a one second action that let understand users that have to wait and make a new confirmation way for developers.

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