What color should a deletion confirmation message be?

This is related to the question Should 'yes, delete it' be red, or green?, but different because this question asks about a passive confirmation message and not the active delete button.

One might say green, the typical success color, but the delete button was red and it looks weird. Making the message red, because you just deleted something, also makes no sense because red is supposed to be for errors.

In my specific case it's about rejecting or accepting proposals. The options are:

Green background / success (success)

Red background / danger (danger)

Yellow background / warning (warning)

Blue background / info (info)

Making rejected bold puts more emphasis on the difference between rejected and accepted. The text could also be changed to "You have successfully rejected the proposal," which also puts more emphasis on the actual action regardless of the color.

Using no color, a grey background with black text, looks weird. It doesn't look like a notification anymore at all, so I don't really consider it an option.

Finally someone suggested having no message at all, since the proposal will be deleted from the list of proposals. That deletion in itself should be enough feedback, according to that person. I personally disagree, though. It feels weird.

Overall, I lean towards green or blue (success or info). Red messages should be a failure of some kind, and the yellow warning also makes me feel like there is additional action I should take. Green doesn't look like a rejection (the reject button is red, the approve button is green) and blue also feels off for some reason.

Which option should be used?

  • 16
    Go for blue as you message should be info for user as your letting the user know that something has happened. Also for text you could write "Proposal is rejected" simple info
    – nikhil84
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 11:31
  • 2
    Definitely blue or gray for me.
    – o0'.
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 12:25
  • 32
    (not white and gold)
    – o0'.
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 12:26
  • 1
    @Chipperyman If you had read the post, no, there is a clear difference. That question is about the prompt, this is about the feedback message. Related because it's the same process flow (that's why I linked it), but different screens.
    – Luc
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:07
  • 8
    This question is different from the suggested duplicate. The duplicate refers to colors for active buttons. This question is about status notifications. The answers are very different.
    – tohster
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:16

5 Answers 5


Don't start with choosing colors!

1. First, distinguish notifications from errors

This is a common point of confusion with UX. Consider these two messages:

  • Sorry, the app has crashed - This is an error, and should be highlighted as an error (i.e. pop up alert, dialog, red button, etc).
  • You have rejected a date with Kate Upton - Although this sounds like an error, it is NOT an error. It's a confirmation notification that indicates a negative choice.

In your situation, confirming a proposal rejection is not an error, it's a notification.

2. Then, make your layout decision

Now that you know it's a notification, color and layout choice should conform with other notifications in your app/site.

So it's impossible to answer the question of color choice without seeing what the positive (accepted proposal) notification looks like.

Let's assume you have a pair of notifications: Proposal accepted and Proposal rejected.

  • Generally nowadays it's not a great idea to use colored backgrounds to distinguish the two, because it becomes difficult for the user to recognize them both as notifications.
  • It's better to choose a common layout for notifications (e.g. black background, or toasts), and then convey the accept/reject message INSIDE the notification.

enter image description here

  • If you need to highlight the accept/reject status more clearly, you can use status icons or colored swatches to highlight the status, but preserve the consistent layout of the notification (in this example, the common black background)

enter image description here

The specific color, shape and animation of the notifications will depend on your app layout and color palette, but whatever it is it should be consistent between Accept and Reject so that both notifications are clearly perceived as the same species.

  • 1
    Very nice answer but less votes because you're late. Though not my solution (I chose to keep the style that is standard in the application, if we decide to change it we can just change the style everywhere at once), it's very good advice. Going to accept the answer.
    – Luc
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 17:03
  • @Luc that's the right approach I think. That way, you are ensuring behavioral consistency throughout your app. Sometimes it sucks to be in California and behind the rest of the world in time :-) Good luck!
    – tohster
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 17:05
  • 22
    Rejecting a date with Kate Upton is a deadly error though :)
    – AKS
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 17:53
  • 4
    @AyeshK that would surely be the "Fatal" log level.
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 18:54
  • 1
    To me, the colored cross in the bottom-right "Rejected proposal" notification looks more like "Proposal rejection failed", thus makes me think "Oh, what happened?..<re-read> Ah, no, it succeeded, nothing wrong then.", which gives unnecessary worrying.
    – Ruslan
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 18:12

I would recommend moving away from colour for confirmation messages in this case.

I say this because it can be confusing for the user especially since you are using red and green for "Reject" and "Accept" so when they have successfully done an action moving from red to green can be disorientating and unworthy extra cognitive overflow.

Take a look at Google how they are doing it with what they call snackbars and toasts.

enter image description here

By eliminating colour and using language such as "Successfully" like you mentioned it becomes less about the mental model associated with certain colours and more about the message.

Have just seen Daniel answered with a very similar solution!

If you have other messages then you pretty much have to follow the pattern you have created.

So if this is considered a successful completion of an action and all other actions that are successful get a green message, then this needs to get a green message.

  • I would also add that these messages work great both on desktop and mobile devices. At least from my experience. This is one part of the material design from Google which I am loving. Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 13:54
  • I was immediately thinking "neutral" as well. Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 14:43

Inbox Notification

I find that the grey background with white text gives a very neutral feel and looks good on the eye as well. Unless it's good or bad, I would avoid green or red.

  • 1
    Looks okay, but doesn't fit the style of other messages on the site. Messages currently have one of the colors as mentioned in the question; grey (or black in this case) does not look like a notification, it blends in too much. Nevertheless, thanks for the feedback!
    – Luc
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 10:13
  • 1
    @Luc you are in a bit of trouble if a seemingly optimal solution is denied because colour semantics is already 'hard-coded' into the interface. The maxim 'more colours more problems' comes to mind here - and it seems you are already facing issue: the semantics of colours is a dangerous territory. From a cognitive perspective - colours (like red) can be used to draw attention, but otherwise should ideally not convey semantics (users have to make sense of what each colour mean). The colour templates provided by bootstrap et al can be easily misused if one keeps UX in mind.
    – Izhaki
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 11:38
  • That all-caps… ಠ_ಠ
    – bjb568
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 20:41
  • should the undo and the x really be that close? Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 21:07
  • So far I've never managed to close the notification by mistake. However, if I do, do that then I can always undo the change manually from the list. Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 9:49

The message indicates a successful action, so if you're using color cues, this message should use the color of success: green, in your case. The danger color (red, in this example) should be used when the user is about to do something destructive (e.g. "Are you sure you want to delete this?"), but the message you're asking about is for when the user has already done it. The danger has passed, so you shouldn't use color cues that could indicate danger still being present. Unless, of course, the situation is dangerous for some other reason.


Already there are couple of good answers urging you from moving away from colors. I do agree with them. Considering the color blindness/cultural relations, colors should always be used as a secondary mode of conveying any information. But then again, if you are working with an application which already has alerts for success, failure which are using color cues then you would want to be consistent.

In that scenario, I'd stick with color in which all successes are shown. It is a confirmation of a user action. I will augment the message with a appropriate symbol of Info, Success tick or a wrong cross or anything else as applicable.

In addition, if you use red, assuming it is used across application for error, quickly initiates a response from user. s/he expects ways to correct any error that s/he must have encountered/made. In this case there is no error, so it would be a false alarm. You would not want to create a system which is not consistent and programatically, deliberately creates false alarms. This will also have an impact on your other error messages. Users will have some intellectual load to process to differentiate from a negative confirmation vs an actual error.

Furthermore you are assuming a rejection or any negative, deleting action is inherently dangerous/bad etc. Which definitely may not be the case. An error message which differs from norm will give an impression that the action user performed is somehow considered in a bad light. You would not want to do that.

The answers which steer clear of colors also show it in a message agnostic way. Your notifications and alerts should not vary on the content. Those should be more generic in nature, fundamentally denoting a success or failure of an operation.

  • 4
    Upvoted because I'm red/green colorblind and it drives me crazy when people ask questions presupposing using color as a primary indicator of information, and answers don't mention why that might not be the best idea.
    – neminem
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 17:26

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