There are examples on the web with actions within a clickable area. Does this create an issue with users mistakenly clicking a delete or close button vs the actual area?


Chrome: close tab button within tab. Youtube: delete button within tag.

  • Can you be a bit more explicit on your question? Because the answer to the question on the subject is; yes. But the development of the question is not clear, so in the end, I'm not sure what exactly is it that you are asking.
    – PatomaS
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 0:40
  • Yes to which? Is it easy to use those buttons, or do users accidentally click one when they meant to click the other? Or both? I want to know if having a smaller button within a larger click area creates a frustrating experience for users.
    – helloworld
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 1:26
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    What I mean, is that you have completely different questions on the title and the text of the question. Yes, buttons are easy to use, yes, sometimes small buttons get clicked by mistake, yes that creates issues, like frustration. Now if what you want to ask if in a situation like the tab area/bar on a browser people click on the closing button instead of selecting the tab, that's the kind of question that can be made much more clear. The answer to that would be that it's not the most common situation, but it happens and people get annoyed, yes.
    – PatomaS
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 5:05
  • I think this question is interesting, but needs improvement and expansion. Indeed: please bring the question in the header and the body in line with each other, so that a "yes" is a clear answer.
    – André
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 8:19
  • I totally see why the question is unclear now. When I think of ways to expand on this question (alternative solutions?) I'll redo it, but nothing comes to mind at the moment. Thanks!
    – helloworld
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 21:29

2 Answers 2


Cognitive difficulty

-> UI element looks like one area but actually has two different functions. Thus it behaves differently depending on where you click.

Yes, there is a risk. However many UI's have a learning curve that balances discoverability, minimising real estate, efficiency, clarity.

So with appropriate (a) affordances (b) learning curve (c) low impact of mistakes then the gains in the criteria above may outweigh this "cognitive difficulty" risk.

Accuracy of Click

-> User understands they different functions but can't target right are accurately.

Possibly but just follow the guidance for the platform that you are running on. e.g. Android 7-10mm touch targets are advised


From my own experience I can say that clicking it on desktop isn't a problem for the majority of today's users.

It even creates a great UX because it's obvious that the small button belongs to the button in which it is situated.

However, on mobile websites this can be frustrating as most elderly have large fingers with which they can't touch small things that easy. I'd suggest having another layout on mobile. Perhaps a modal with options when you click on the big button.

(A modal is one of these things that come down from the top of the screen containing other options and a little cross to close them at the top right, they are included in the bootstrap framework. I strongly suggest you give this a try.)

Edit: Always use a confirmation when deleting thing because the most frustrating thing is deleting something by accident. You could also use an undo button to enhance UX even more. Thanks for the tip CoDEmanX

  • 1
    how do older users have bigger fingers?
    – Toni Leigh
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 19:52
  • 1
    how does your own experience transpose to the majority of todays users?
    – Toni Leigh
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 19:58
  • Because I've got a website myself which has quite a few users and using analytics tools I can tell that users don't find it difficult to do so on desktop. All users are aged 13-25 or 30-70. The last group finds it significantly harder to perform these actions. On mobile
    – tkon99
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 20:03
  • I disagree on "Always use a confirmation when deleting", as THAT is really frustrating - rather provide a way to undo it (exclude account deletions here). In recent Android apps, they use toast messages with an undo button, which is really convenient and you can operator very fast without extra "are you really really sure?" prompts.
    – CodeManX
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 21:06

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