Dangerous UX: Consequential Options Close to Benign Options

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Summary: Confirmatory and destructive actions should be far apart from each other; use additional redundant visual signals to differentiate between them and avoid user errors.

Preventing errors is better than helping users recover from them. That’s an important principle in UX. When users must recover from an error (whether a mistake or a slip ), they must interrupt their task to devote precious cognitive (and working memory ) resources to fixing the problem, even if it’s only for a few seconds. Regardless of how easy it is to access your Undo function (and we hope you do have one!), it’s better to not have to use it at all.

Just the other day, as I was typing something in a browser, I got the following spellcheck option:

Do you notice the potential danger in this otherwise helpful little context menu (and can you guess which option I accidentally clicked due to inaccurate mousing)? Right next to the option to use one of the suggested spellings, there is Add to Dictionary. Literally, next to the option to fix a mistake is the option to make sure that I will forever make that same mistake! To add insult to injury, these options are very close to each other, so one could easily accidentally click Add to dictionary while trying to select the suggested correction.

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