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I know it actually depends on the situation. But my colleague insists of using popup dialogues as confirmation and found it counter-productive(or am I wrong?)

Hovering the button will show a tooltip

Users are to make checklist which consists of sections and in each section, they can: remove a row, remove all items in the section, or remove the entire section. Assuming they will be dealing with a lot of sections,

is it a good alternative to double-click 'remove' action buttons and prevent users from accidentally clicking them?

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Generally speaking, no.

You're basically implementing a software equivalent to a guarded switch. This is not a pattern that the large majority of users are familiar with and it will cause confusion on initial use.

It is a button that looks like any other button, but behaves differently. It is also unclear how I use the button.

  • Do I click once, get the popup, and then click again?
  • Do I quickly double-click to use this button?
  • Do I click once, get the popup, and then have to double click - making it a triple click?
  • How do I know which button is "guarded" and which isn't?
  • What happens if I sneeze and accidentally double-click the button?

If you require a popup to explain how the use the button, that should be the first indication that it is designed less then ideally.

I've implemented a guarded button in software once, for a Department of Defense user interface. The button looked very different, took a second to "open" before accepting a second click, and used a pattern well understood by military personnel. I argued against it then (I lost) and I would argue against it in the future.

You are better off using a standard pattern such as undo or a confirmation. Which to use depends on your situation - Deletion: Confirm or Undo? Which is the better option and why?

  • Thanks for answering. The tooltip shows on hover and when the page loads, a modal showing tips on how to use the module, tells the user how to remove items, sections, etc. And yes, it's a double-click in quick succession. Anyway, I actually got convinced! I altered the buttons and implemented an undo feature. But the remove section, is a confirmation one. Is that ok? – dresdain May 1 '16 at 15:55
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Double clicking isn't intuitive, and having to explain that behavior through a popup is a waste of space on your form, plus it isn't always visually appealing.

An idea I have in mind is to use "slide to delete" which most people are familiar with nowadays. Even though its less used on desktop the idea is the same that users can use mouse to slide the button to confirm deletion. That way there's very little chance of deleting by accident. You don't even have to follow up with a confirmation after.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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Otherwise, you could just have a plain delete button, and when pressed it's internal text changes to "ARE YOU SURE?".The color could be made darker to give the idea of taking a layer off it.

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