The Opposite of Fitts’ Law [via Berserk’s comment at the spiky button post] asks:

“What should we do with UI elements we don’t want users to click on? Like, say, the ‘delete all my work’ button?”

The possible answers given: Make the button hard to click, offer an undo, and/or show a confirmation alert dialog before proceeding.

The piece also highlights Alan Cooper’s interesting “ejector seat lever” analogy:

ejector seat

Certainly gets the point across.

Here’s an example of separating a dangerous element from a harmless one in Backpack: The recently added add/edit an event box that pops up in your features a trash can icon that deletes a post. It’s located far away from the Save/Close actions.


In Basecamp, the Delete/Edit message links are close to each other. But if you do click on Delete accidentally, you have to confirm it:

delete confirm

We go the dialog route when the action does irreversible damage to something you might care about a lot. Loss of a calendar event is unfortunate but easily reparable. But loss of a message with comments can cause significant pain.

(Btw, one thing about the examples used in the Fitts’ Law post: There’s actually a setting in Gmail that lets you undo email sends up to 5 seconds after a message is sent.)