We've all seen these types of warnings: "Are you sure you want to shut down Windows?"
I hear a lot of people frustratingly reply: "Yes, of course, otherwise I wouldn't have clicked it!"
These types of warning messages can be very annoying, but it can also save you from data loss.
In modern Windows versions, Microsoft has removed this warning message. But in many software and on many websites, we still see these types of warnings:
- "Do you want to save your work?"
- "Do you want to close all tabs?" (which some browsers ask, while some browsers don't).
The utilitaristic way to solve this dilemma would be to say:
"many people click a button deliberately and just a few people click a button by accident, so the warning message should be removed." (which I hear a lot). But is this the right way of thinking?
So the question is:
Are there any studies or heuristics on when and where to use a warning message and how can we prevent using them (if that's preferred)? Also I'm curious to read your opinion!
At the moment, steveverrill's answer about a "don't show this message again" check box is the most easy and safe solution.
In some cases (maybe in the future when computers are more advanced), auto save and/or restore buttons could be a better solution. Check those other well thought out answers too!