Scenario as follows, example is an online survey (policy is to not hard delete anything):

  1. You open a survey from the survey list.
  2. On the survey, for admins only, there is a special Tools menu in the top right corner. The Tools menu includes admin functions such as Delete, Edit, Complete, etc.
  3. When you click Delete, the record is soft deleted.

Should the user then be:

  • left on the Survey page, with a Deleted label in the header
  • or redirected to the survey list?

I chose the first option as I thought the Admin may want to go ahead and do more administrative tasks on the record. My QA said she would always want it to go to the list as that's what she would expect.

I am on the fence on this one and don't believe either option is right/better.

  • 1
    To me it's fairly unclear what you want to do here; can you display the flows that you've worked out already. Also, I'd not recommend to use the word delete if it doesn't delete anything; maybe you can try and rephrase the purpose towards the user; what the user actually wants to accomplish. As a general recommendation I'd say: go ahead and do a hallway-test to see what comes more naturally (don't ask for the answer, just watch them struggle and observe).
    – Xabre
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 16:03
  • @Xabre thanks for the thoughts. I know there's this whole stigma of not calling it delete unless it actually deletes it. In this case, it's an Admin only function, and for any non-admin user, a deleted record is completely out of the system, so as far as they know, it has been deleted. Workflow is essentially described in the dot points listed in question.
    – Arkiliknam
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 20:37
  • 1
    I can't imagine any administrative tasks you would want to do on an item after deleting it ... could you tell me?
    – Larivact
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 14:16

3 Answers 3


I think you should let the admin stay in the Survey Page and choose themselves whether or not to close it and return to the Survey List.

Number 7 of 8 of Shneiderman's "Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design"

Support internal locus of control.

Experienced operators strongly desire the sense that they are in charge of the system and that the system responds to their actions. Design the system to make users the initiators of actions rather than the responders.

Who more of an experienced operator than the admin of your system. When an admin hits the delete button they are initiating a delete action, so the system is responding to their action. But the close action is triggered by the record deletion, therefore the system is responding to its own action, effectively removing the locus of control.

  • 1
    This is precisely my thinking
    – Arkiliknam
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 12:21

It depends on how often they do that action.

If they need to sit down and delete 20 things, you gotta flip them back to the list. And probably think about setting up multi-delete on the list page.

If they rarely delete these, then just leave them there on the survey. Especially if they would potentially want to do other actions after the delete. Something you just have to ask your administrator users.


From what I understand, the problem is not that it would be difficult to re-open a deleted record, but that the user doesn't necessarily expect it to close after deleting it. Once an administrator (soft) deletes a record, it probably means they are done with it, but since I don't know the specifics, I don't know for sure.

There's an easy solution: make it so the action aligns with what the user expects. One way would be to rename the Delete option "Close and Delete". If pressing Delete brings up a confirmation dialogue window of some sort, another option would be to have three buttons on that dialogue: Cancel, Delete, and Close and Delete (pardon my mis-use of the <kbd> element). This way, the user is always in charge.

  • My whole issue here is knowing what the user expects. Personally, it annoys me as a user if I am redirected after taking an action (gmail prime example), but I know for a fact that others like it that way. I also personally find buttons like "Do something and Close" annoying redundancy. But its very personal. I think I am probably in the minority here.
    – Arkiliknam
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 20:50
  • @Arkiliknam: But is it redundant? "Close" and "Delete" are two very different things. If you feel like "Delete" isn't sufficient enough for the user to know that it will be closed too, then you have to do something.
    – user69458
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 1:29
  • I think you are agreeing with me, as I fell that Delete is sufficient enough for the user to know that nothing else will happen. I personally am in total agreement with DasBeasto's answer. As an admin user, let them (the one's you trust) do what they want to do (not dictate it for them).
    – Arkiliknam
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 8:31
  • I didn't say that I agree with you, just that you're being unclear: first you say that the user won't know what to expect when he presses the Delete button, then you say that he will.
    – user69458
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 13:23
  • As a user, I expect to be left on the page. I was asking if there is any standard to follow (as I disagree with another person). Thank you for your answer, it is just not something I agree with. I like @DasBeatos's answer as he gives reference to Shneiderman's "Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design", which I did not know about before.
    – Arkiliknam
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 9:08

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