UX Time #1: Aim, hold, action and how I got tricked to upvote

Recently I was experiencing a lot of fuss about user interactions, but what captured my attention was mechanism related to “hold on hover” state and action following this procedure. Let’s start with how I got tricked in the first place which is great example of “not moving your cursor”.

It was a dark, rainy day – one could say, not a bad time to sit in front of a computer without guilt. Drops were hitting my window and wind started to bend trees harder and harder. Warmth of tea standing next to the keyboard was already gone, but what’s going to happen earned my whole attention and cold liquid was not a problem at that time.

Naaah, it’s been an average day and I was caching up on Twitter shouts. One of which was a retweet with blog post (apparently on Svbtle) about user experience methods, written by an UX expert (I guess or some sort of specialist, well… or not). I did a fast scroll to get an idea of what the article is about and check if I can read it right at that time (means it’s short) or I should send it to Kindle (long and needs more attention, but you can read about “send to Kindle” in my review and how I use it).

Move your mouse! It’s a trap!

When I reached the bottom of the article I saw a pink dot, similar to this one (yes, this one is black cpt. obvious):

dark interaction dot kudo

I guess some smart (and shifty, but we will get to that) person realized that people will want to interact with the pink dot – at least out of curiosity. I put my cursor on the spot and suddenly text appeared “Don’t move your mouse. Keep it still!” and I increased “Kudos” count.

Side note: It’s pretty old mechanism, there is ever over 2-year old, open JS library, but apparently I managed to keep quality of websites I visit high enough to not meet such tricks.

What drives me mad:

  1. Time to give “Kudo”, or +1 if you prefer, was actually shorter that time you need to read the pop-up info; before you realize what’s going on, you contribute unintentionally.
  2. Point can’t be taken back, it’s not a toggle, there is no -1 or it’s not as obvious as it should be.

I got tricked and that’s what this kind of implementation [of such a mechanism] is, pure trap to increase points counter by guile.

Don’t get me wrong, I like prize points and mechanisms that allow community to reward great piece of knowledge, but if you trick people to get karma, whole idea is becoming pointless. I won’t even start with a complain that it makes you spend time on contributing to a “like counter” – side activity.

It’s wrong, plain and simple, that didn’t change since 2012.

Hold to delete

Next inspiring tweet was about “hold to delete” mechanism, which generic intention isn’t bad in my opinion. However, I would say lesson to get the whole idea of this procedure can be expensive and there is high risk of the lesson not being learned.

I assume (hope) this kind of mechanism won’t be available to manage your domains, but even accidental deletion of a photograph, message or an important note can cause some damage. Personally I like to think about the worst scenario possible, because somebody WILL have an idea to implement this in “triple confirmation zone” – don’t lie to yourself, people are “creative”.

How I see first use of this kind of mechanism (Let’s assume the one from tweet above, drop-down, then “Hold to delete”):

  1. User is looking for a delete option.
  2. He/She finds drop-down and sees “Hold to delete”.
  3. Not being sure how it works, (s)he hovers over the button and wonders if click and hold will do the job,…
  4. but it’s already gone.
  5. Congratulations, your folder with family album backup was successfully deleted.

Well, user is lucky if it was intentional and (s)he wanted to remove the album, but I don’t have to explain this situation if action happened when freely browsing website and just getting to know your way around a service.

That’s only one example and technical side of things, but we can’t forget about comfort.

When at your PC, it’s not a big deal to move your cursor over “Hold…” area, but when we consider users of touch devices, comfort isn’t as obvious. Phone which is usually being operated with 1 finger, horizontally, could pass a conveniences test, but tablet and all-in-one are very often used in vertical state. I will leave it to your imagination or (if you are at your PC/all-in-one etc.) you can try holding finger on this dot for 3 seconds.

dark interaction dot kudo

Comfortable? Don’t worry, only 4 more photos, after all we won’t be bothering with bulk actions for 4 images.

There are actions that should be hard(er) to perform

Ask yourself a question “Why deleting was designed to be harder in the first place?”. It’s an easy one, but it really explains why “Hold to delete” isn’t the mechanism you want to implement with a delete button.

When you add something by accident, it’s not a big deal, you just need to remove it. Nothing bad will happen when you pick edit option, move to an additional category or decorate with extra tags. All this actions have something in common, they are additive and we can with no worries assume that they are easily reversible (Don’t you dare to bring image data information up.). The problem with all kinds of removal procedures is finality, restoring these changes is either impossible, hard to make happen or just not worth it, but still frustrating.

Arrive at the point, what can we do?

It’s not too productive when you just sit down and complain on somebodies solution, so I started thinking how to make friendly confirmation which will:

  1. Centralize “delete” action, so user doesn’t have to move from a delete button area.
  2. Be hard enough to minimize accidental removal and remain comfortable.

In the end I came up with “slide to delete”.

Slide to delete

We are already using it every day to accept and reject calls, unlock or mute phones, it’s pretty much proven to be accident proof when being fast and comfortable at the same time. Another important thing, it’s as easy to perform on desktop as on tablet or phone.

What’s your thought? Do you have any ideas how to improve it? Write it down, you can use comments section. Do it before you forget it.

Finally, if you would like to read more about actions I encourage to take a look at this SO discussion and Harry Brignull’s article about artificial delays.

Update:

After posting this piece on r/web_design and I’m really content with the discussion.

First of all I have to admit that “slide to delete” confirmation can work in favour of touch devices and produce a flaw when working with mouse. All I can think about right now is to adjust confirmation to user’s device, there are tools to do that, but on the other hand it can be confusing – always compare pros and cons.

Idea which got the closest to my intentional goal is morphing delete button to a confirmation one, after click. However, it would need a small adjustment, for example to place NO switch in place of the delete one and move yes to the side, avoiding accidental confirmation this way (ex. double-tap). As mentioned in discussion, Reddit got it right with report link.

The last suggestion, trash bin, isn’t bad; but I feel like it’s not universal enough. Although, if you are in need of fast solution of deletion mechanism and option to restore data, I would call it perfect. Great example would be posts in WordPress, trashing takes one click (no confirmation), but gives you a way to restore removed objects.

Different solutions are pouring out, but it’s safe to say that “hold to delete” is not the way to go, unless you are 100% sure that amount of advantages outweighs risk it generates.

Links:
Kudos jQuery plugin (version with removal, that’s a plus)
Svbtle
Should list item specific actions be hidden on default and revealed on hover or always be displyed?
Adding delays to increase perceived value: does it work?
Discussion on r/web_design