I would like to formulate a basic concept for a warning before clicking on a dangerous button.

The concept should include a short description on the button purpose, the results from clicking and other necessary information.

For example : "The following command may change programs on your computer. Please verify you have an up-to-date antivirus installed..."

What is your idea?


1 Answer 1


You need to find a general tone that is appropriate given your users and the level of risk you want to protect them from. The right tone will be the one that your users find appropriate. They might resent your not warning them enough if one of their actions results in a big loss for instance and they feel they would have proceeded differently, had they been explained the consequences beforehand, but they will also feel frustrated and find the interface has been built by people who are not aware of their reality if every click asks for a "Are you really, perfectly and undoubtedly sure you meant to click here ?" validation.

You might first want to use one of the following suggestions or combine both :

  • display a message that will be seen before clicking
  • display a message after the user has clicked.

The "before click" message will probably need to keep short to save estate in your interface. A simple phrase starting with a verb and just saying what main action the button triggers seems appropriate, e.g. "delete all records", "export and close", etc.

The after click message can remind the chosen action, explain the potential unwanted consequences and ask for a validation, e.g. "deleting all records may result in unwanted data loss. Do you want to proceed ?". Thinking of users who will frequently take such actions, you could add a "do not show warning again" checkbox.

In summary :

  • before : action triggered [verb with its complements]
  • after : validation with [same verb and complements, progressive form] + [may/will result in consequence.] + [Confirming question] with "do not show again" checkbox.
  • @user3165438 You're more than welcome. Thanks for the green tick..
    – Pierre
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 12:22

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