Do not scare the user

By Lieselot, 27 juli 2015

When a user deleted a file in StabiBASE Explorer the user had no good feedback what exactly happened with the items on the hard disk.


Old situation

The user didn’t dare to delete files in the explorer, afraid to lose everything on the hard disk. It became clear in a second message after you pressed YES that you weren’t deleting everything from the hard disk yet. Many didn’t dare to take this risk. This caused calls to Support asking if they could delete the files.





So this was not a difficult solution. I combined these windows into one:


Buttons: A Cancel button is not needed in this case, because cancel has the same outcome as NO. You can still “cancel” by using the X button to close this window.

Text: We revised the text a little bit to make it a more clear what it is we are asking the user. Not related files (that can be a lot) but only the underlying files.


Future, always improving

After the implementation  I read a very interesting argument on about button usage:  Never use ‘Yes’ or ‘OK’ when you could use a verb instead.

This is an interesting starting point, it is assumed that people do not read the windows well. By adding a verb on the button you summarize what will happen and the user will know instantly.

So in this case the buttons of delete project window should be: Delete / Cancel.

Delete/No is not an option in my opinion. The user doesn’t want to make a choice. The user wants to get out of there because he doesn’t want to delete anything or make difficult choices and read stuff. Cancel is then a very comfortable escape instead of No.

I’ve send this suggestion with my motivation to the team responsible for this part and see if we can revise some other windows.



It is important to think about buttons and text, however don’t spend too much time on those questions. If you made a wrong decision it will not cause catastrophic problems. Just make sure that the guidelines and reasoning for your decision are clearly described in the GUI and you will avoid these eternal discussions.