Best practices and the future of confirmed action

The confirmation design pattern isn’t something to be taken lightly. If applied erroneously, or not at all, users may commit unintended havoc. 

Confirmations ask a user to verify whether they want to proceed or cancel a requested action. Confirmations are used for destructive actions, like deleting a photo album, or consequential actions, like publishing this article.

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Designing Confirmation

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Confirmations are not always needed and can increase mistakes.

Good practice:

  1. Present the action as a question in the header
  2. Explain the outcome of the action in the body
  3. Restate the action in the confirmation button

Avoid:

  1. Ambiguous questions like “Are you sure?”
  2. Non-descriptive body copy
  3. Yes/No actions
  4. “Cancel” can cause confusion. When committing a destructive action, like discarding changes, users may mistake “cancel” for the intended action instead of cancelling the confirmation dialogue.

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The future of confirmed action

At first, a better button design was the response to the flat design trend. Buttons were less like buttons and could cause unintentionally harmful actions.

But with virtual reality, augmented reality, wearables, and gesture/voice-based interfaces of all kinds, we are moving to a future where the dexterity and context of an interaction is vastly different and will change the way we think about invoking action.

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