My Android app has an Undo button in the action bar: Undo

Many users are confused between this Undo button and Android's hardware Back button (which exits the activity).
Even I sometimes press the wrong one.

Are there ways I can reduce confusion between the two?

I was asked for precisions about my app so here you go: It is a flashcards app where the user presses Again/Hard/OK/Easy after revealing the answer. Many users use the app several hours per day, at around 2000 flashcards per hour. Mis-touch typically happens a dozen times per day, for instance pressing "Hard instead of "Again", which has very bad consequences, so an Undo feature is needed.

  • I think you just have to rely on the hardware button and do away with in-app buttons for now. Until Android device manufacturers remove those troublesome buttons which have big UX issues.
    – Ades
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 7:23
  • @Ades: No sure what you mean. Are you suggesting I remove the Undo feature? Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 7:31
  • Yes. Can you give more info on your app and the function of the "Undo" button on that particular page? Perhaps there is a better way to improve the UX.
    – Ades
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 7:38
  • Thanks for the additional info, so pressing on the device back button does the same function as the "undo" button at the moment?
    – Ades
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 7:53
  • Use a different icon. Such as undo icon from material design specs (google.github.io/material-design-icons). Or have a look at undo icon from Tinder app.
    – VipulKumar
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 12:11

3 Answers 3

  1. Android devices' physical touch buttons are problematic and have UX issues. This should be addressed by the manufacturers.

  2. However, the design of your back button could be adding more confusion to users' behavior. Since it looks similar to phone's physical back button. enter image description hereSo maybe users are thinking that phone's back button would do the same action.

    Perhaps replacing it with "..." (three dots) and having one of the option in there as "previous card" would solve the issue.

    See attached reference from similar app.

    enter image description here


The confusion is understandable. The arrow means "turn around," but can't tell the user what is being turned around where, and there isn't space to add more intelligible detail. Icons tend to be like that.

Try labeling it "Undo" rather than using an icon. "Undo" is short word, and probably won't take any more space. This assumes the users already call such a feature "undo."

  • 2
    "Undo" is short word: The app is available in 41 languages, for instance in French that the shortest word would be "Annuler" and in German that would be "Rückgängig machen". Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 3:19
  • Bummer. Do these languages have a tradition of abbreviations? Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 15:57
  • In French there is no abbreviation for "Annuler". Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 1:12

Try moving the location of the Undo icon to a location that is obviously distinct from the Back button. It can also be on a timer - appear for 10 seconds, then disappear.

  • Thanks a lot! To make it an even better answer, would you mind adding a screenshot of a mainstream app that has an Undo button at a location that is obviously distinct from the Back button? Thanks! Commented Apr 30, 2021 at 8:27

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