Sam Brown

Unnecessary action elements in user interfaces

This screengrab from Matthew Smith’s Flickr stream reminded me of a pet hate of mine, unnecessary action elements in user interfaces.

While Matthew’s shot may be a cheap tactic for Emusic to try and keep their customers on their site, my example is equally cheap, annoying and a potential security issue. When wanting to sign out of particular online banking service I use, clicking the “Sign out” link simply isn’t enough, one is then sent to a page which asks you to confirm that you would like to log out of their site.

“Hi, yes, that’s why I clicked the sign out link in the first place! FFS.”

If your UI is that bad, that people accidentally click this button or misinterpret what it actually does, you need to hire somebody to work on your shit. It peeves me to every single time click once in the top left, and then move to the centre of the page to perform a simple action.

Most web users are not as stupid as you may think, get rid off useless and unnecessary action elements, make it easy for your users to perform simple tasks.

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Spencer Fry 10 November 2008, 15:43 #1

I have that same problem with Bank of America. It’s really frustrating. What pisses me off more, though, is when I try to cancel my account at some service and I have to jump through hoops.

Sam Brown 10 November 2008, 23:37 #2

That’s actually an article I am in the middle of writing Spencer, absolutely agree and I’ve got examples of 4 or 5 services that I have recently closed and what I had to do to get that done.

Darren McPherson 11 November 2008, 23:16 #3

These companies hope users are lazy and just forget about cancelling. It’s a tactic that lots of companies use. It’s a joke really.

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Sam Brown co-founded Iterate, and was previously VP of Design at Foursquare. Based in NYC.