This is the kind of mistake, we dread whenever you are filling up an online form. Especially on important websites, like online banking, passport office, Income Tax or admissions to prestigious national institutions.
Siddhanth Batra, a rank holder in the run-up to a prestigious seat at IIT Bombay was admitted, based on merit. Having received the course of his choice, he clicked on an innocent button on the site, which he was supposed to click, if he wants to withdraw from future consideration of seats. Having registered for a programme of his choice, he clicked on it, thinking he need not be considered for further programmes. He did not realise that he had rejected the offer by clicking on it.
A nightmare for every online customer, came true. A badly designed User interaction design led one to a disastrous consequence.
Each one of us have faced these circumstances. Personally, I am forever cursing bad UI designers whenever I am online. I am never sure, if I should click on Login or Sign in. Should I click on ‘Cancel’, if I am cancelling a subscription or ‘Agree’. My bank fills up details for payment automatically based on previous payments! Why will I repeat a payment? And the endless loops I get into, by clicking on ‘Forgot Password’.
But nothing comes close to what Siddhanth Batra is going through. I sent the link to Design Guru Don Norman, author of ‘ Design of Everyday Things’, Cognitive Scientist and the authority on Interaction Design. He writes:
“It is a violation of well-known design rules:
- Never allow an irreversible action without checking.
- Do not combine multiple items in a single yes/no question
- User test.
Combining two different issues in one question led to the confusion.
So had the person checked, the response should have been a popup explaining the implications and asking of the person wished to continue.
Someone should tell the lawyers that it was bad design that led to the problem — not the rules!”
Clearly, the interaction designer is at fault. He probably skipped user testing. Or worse, thought of himself as the typical user. Or he doesn’t have the expertise.
But the damage the designer has done to Siddhanth Batra’s career is unforgivable. I hope that Siddhanth’s lawyers are reading this. This post can be reached to him, if you click on ‘ Share’. That’s a click that you would not regret.