Consider a simple spyware detector that detects a suspicious activity by a program and needs the user to decide, whether it is OK or not. I came up with the following dialog.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Since the detection may not be 100% accurate, the "Ignore thread" button is necessary. However, if the user clicks this button by mistake, he may be seriously compromised.

How do I present the action to the user so that

  • the chance that the user chooses the dangerous option by mistake is minimized, and
  • the dialog doesn't annoy the user if the detection is spurious and they really want to "Ignore"?

I've considered adding a timeout to the dangerous action, so that the user has to wait before clicking it, but that adds the annoyance factor and may stress the user.

I don't see a way to implement undo (default to Stop program and allow the user to revert later), since once the program is stopped, whatever unsaved data the program was holding are irrevocably lost.

It should also be noted that the dialog will popup unexpectedly and I need to make sure that a user's click intended for a control beneath the dialog does not invoke the dangerous action.

What would be the optimal UI in this case?


1 Answer 1


Using something that works line a safety switch could be an idea.

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A button that needs to be primed first to work.

  • Yes. See my answer at the linked question :-) Jul 4, 2013 at 13:13
  • Uh, yes, that sounds reasonable... but how do you apply it to a piece of software? :)
    – avakar
    Jul 4, 2013 at 13:19
  • Implementation of this is trivial, a button that needs to be pressed twice or two buttons etc.
    – K..
    Jul 4, 2013 at 13:42
  • 3
    One example of digital 'priming' I saw was a website that made me hold the button down for like 4 seconds. It was less annoying than a simple timeout on the button because I felt like I was actively working towards something. The timer was also supported by an animation. Jul 4, 2013 at 13:59
  • 2
    @avakar Please see my answer at the linked question This can be implemented with a "Yes I do know what that means" checkbox. Or even two: "Yes I know what that means"; "Yes I want to carry on anyway" -- only two ticks will enable the "Ignore threat" button. Jul 4, 2013 at 17:59

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