I am designing a form having multiple stages where user 'Confirms' the quotation at the last stage. While thinking about how to prevent user leaving this last confirmation page (before he actually confirms), I thought of "Are you sure you want to leave this page" popup message. I got mix opinions through stakeholders whether showing this type message being ethical or not. This keeps me thinking what are the other ways of achieving the same?

Note: Doing follow-up through through email for incomplete task, is a different thing, and I look at it as a supportive backup option. I am looking for on the spot solution which will save our time and increase conversion rate.

  • What justifies calling this 'ethical'? Is this really an issue of moral principles?
    – Izhaki
    Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 15:07
  • Then, if the user has formalised the intent to leave the system - a confirmation message will not change their mind (it will probably only annoy them). You will be protecting against users errors, but doubt this will convince anyone to stay.
    – Izhaki
    Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 15:09

2 Answers 2


You could visually display the current stage of the user. By doing that, you will be managing users' expectation on exactly after how many steps the form will be completed.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • Hey this is already a part of my design. The question is that if user is on step 4 as per your mock, and he deviates from that page (not because he is not satisfied or even by mistake), what are the options we can have to compel to complete the process.
    – Spicerjet
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 7:08
  • 1
    I see. I think email follow up is an optimal solution in that case. Showing a popup with a warning "Are you sure you want to leave the page?" I think, won't really solve the dropout issue, users who want to leave will still leave even if you display a popup window.
    – Ades
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 4:39

There are two possible causes of users leaving that I can think of, and I'm not sure which one you're trying to solve:

  1. User gets cold feet and decides they don't want to complete the process after all. I don't think there's much that can be done here except to improve your messaging and make sure that users who get as far as the confirmation step are actually interested in whatever it is you're doing. (But don't obsess about this unless you have analytics suggesting this is a real problem!)
  2. User gets confused and erroneously believes that the process is completed and no further action is required from them. It's perfectly fine to display a dialog in this case, especially if it gently explains that the user needs to click "Confirm" to actually complete the process. Another approach might be to save the state of the form in your database, and if it stays in the "confirmation" state for a length of time, send an email to the user prompting them to finish. You should also look at why users are getting confused and try to make the process more intuitive.
  • I agree -- there's definitely been a few times I've gotten confused days later when something I thought I had done actually hadn't gotten done, and when I go back, I realize I closed the page because their confirmation page looked a lot like a final summary page and missed that I had one more step left. I think any form (whether it's a multi-page form or what) should have a warning if you try to navigate away without it being 100% done. Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 20:06
  • @DallonF Your Point 2 is what I have mentioned in my Note at the bottom of the question. But I am really interested in Point 1. And considering you rightly said, "users who get as far as the confirmation step" we want to convert this user to confirm. One option is already discussed as have "are you sure .." pop up, what else can be done?
    – Spicerjet
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 7:13
  • First - check your analytics. It's easy to obsess over imaginary issues, and my gut feeling is that's what's happening here. Then, if it truly is a problem, find the root cause (bad messaging, most likely) and fix that. The popup is a band-aid that's more likely to annoy users than change their minds.
    – DallonF
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 15:38
  • Oh! Another possible cause I just thought of: your confirmation page might display information that changes the user's mind (example: price) that isn't available before that point. If you want your confirmation page to convert well, you need to make sure it has no surprises.
    – DallonF
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 15:40

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