Pointless Confirmation

Here’s another example of confirmations that shouldn’t happen:

Are you sure you want to change all similar documents to open with the application “BBEdit.app”? This change will apply to all documents with extension “.py”.

If I don’t like the choice, I’ll just change it back, easy peasy.

More significantly, I already made an explicit choice to do this by seeking out an option several levels deep in the UI. This is not an accident. Just do what I said.

For some reason, when installing some random editor, Apple allows the app to take over all existing file mappings it wants without even informing the user, but when I make a very explicit choice to take this fully reversible action, Apple thinks I need to be warned away from it and double confirmed.

Here’s a suggestion: when the user tells the computer to do something, it should do it. Don’t ask the user if they really, really want to unless the action is both irreversible and potentially harmful. For instance, printing on paper might be irreversible but it’s unlikely to be harmful so it shouldn’t be confirmed. Design UIs so the user makes explicit choices they understand, and give them the option to undo when they choose. If there’s a confirmation step in the UI, something is wrong.

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