Show notes

A Link show. James and Per discuss three recent articles found during their digital travels. Has information architecture been hindered by the rise of user experience? What is user experience? and finally how do you make sure that users don’t accidentally delete things?

(Listening time: 37 minutes)



This show was sponsored by Revrise. RevRise is Google Analytics but for web forms and tells you where users are having difficulties or droping out.


Per: This is UX Podcast, balancing business, technology and users every other Friday from Stockholm, Sweden. I’m Per Axbom.

James: And I’m James Royal-Lawson. Today is a link show.

View the full transcript

Per: Ah, yes.

James: Which means for those of you that don’t know, we take three articles that we found during our digital travels and we discuss them a little bit here and those three articles that we’re going to talk about today are User Experience Has Stunted Information Architecture.

Per: It’s by Peter Merholz. I actually found it through a Twitter conversation that was taking place between Jared Spool and Peter where they were arguing about jam.

James: Yeah. And peanut butter. And the second one is User Experience Is …

Per: A wonderful piece by Whitney Hess, yeah.

James: And the third and final piece today or article is How to Make Sure Users Don’t Accidentally Delete.

Per: Extremely practical advice.

James: Yeah. Who’s that by?

Per: It’s Anthony but actually I don’t know the surname.

James: I forgot to actually check. No. He’s just called Anthony. We will come back to that. We can find out while we’re talking. I don’t think we can on UX Movement. So let’s dive into the first article.

Per: Uh-huh.


James: Today’s episode is sponsored by RevRise. RevRise is Google Analytics but for Web forms and told you where the users are having difficulties or dropouts. Go to Revrise dot com to find out more.


Per: OK. So the title is User Experience Has Stunted Information Architecture and “stunted” is not a word you hear a lot. Stunted basically –

James: Stunted growth. It means something is not growing as fast as it would have been expected to.

Per: I’m on the side of the Swedes here.

James: Oh, you should take that. We’ve got a fair few Swedes out there listening. There’s a fair few non-English speaking people listening, so OK.

Per: So “stunt” actually means to prevent from growing or developing properly.

James: Maybe you were thinking that kind of like I don’t know. They had helmets on and there were big ramps and they lined up a lot of double-decker buses and user experience. They stunted information architecture by managing to jump 30 buses instead of 20. See, there you go, information architecture. You should get a better bike.

Per: Something like that. You never know.

James: The title is saying that yeah, user experience has caused informational architecture to not develop and grow as it would have done if they hadn’t stuck their meddling hands in the way.

Per: Right. And Peter in the article actually comes to the conclusion that perhaps we should make information architecture into its own well, again, I would say silo. It’s something that’s separate from UX and well, really actually to strengthen it, to make it something that people – to pay more attention to and not have it under the UX umbrella. That’s sort of the gist of the article.

James: Yeah. How does this come about? You said you spotted this was a Twitter conversation.

Per: Yeah. Well, Jared said that he wanted to nip this in the bud and on Twitter and said that well, he doesn’t agree with Peter. Well, he does agree with everything but except for two points and that’s everything that the article says. He doesn’t agree that IA is somehow stunted. He does not agree that UX is responsible.

James: Yeah. Yeah.

Per: So that turned into just a funny conversation when you’re trying to use metaphors with peanut butter and jam. I didn’t really get all of that.

James: That was actually really good fun with the whole jam and peanut butter thing.

Per: But it’s quite funny. I mean Peter and Jared are quite big voices in the community. I remember Jon Kolko writing an article way back like three years ago. He’s always – Peter and Jared were just on top of it, tearing it apart.

James: Well, the article is fair enough. I mean it’s talking about how – information architecture was bigger or rather easier to sell up to around 2005, 2006 and I used to get called to do information architecture jobs and quite regularly up to that time. It was one of those things that customers wanted. Customers knew what it meant.

Per: Right, they had a specialist row.

James: Yeah and they felt they had a need for it. So they come to an agency and they take – yeah, I need you to do my information architecture and then you would will the troops out and we would get on with it. Then something changed. They stopped asking really for that.

Per: People don’t use that term anymore.

James: No, they don’t really now. Not in any way near the scale that they used to. Now we’re speaking very much from a Swedish perspective.

Per: We are.

James: But given our watching of the media and the blogging and everything and the wider world of UX and digital. Then I’d think it’s still the same there. It’s not as focused – bigger focus as it once was.

Per: I’m thinking that – I mean young people are just coming out of school and getting into Web development. They’ve probably never even heard of the phrase. It’s not part of the curriculum to actually understand what that is.

James: They don’t feel the need to worry about it.

Per: Although UX is something fluffy that they have heard about.

James: Yeah. So I agree with – the storytelling in this article by Peter is right. It’s true. This is how it was. You know the focus does ebb and flow and shift. But I – this is where I agree with Jared in that can we stop with the in-fighting. I mean this is a petty, silly argument and a waste of time.

Per: The point with the article, I don’t really get actually.

James: No, it’s like kicking the shins of the first person you happen to walk past and this IA person decided to kick the shins of UX.

Per: Well, he’s trying to raise IA actually.

James: Yeah, yeah. He’s trying to defend it and raise it. We’ve talked about kind of what is UX a few times. The biggest and best time probably is episode 36, White Rabbits, where we spent a whole programme…

Per: A whole episode on white rabbits.

James: Yeah. Tomorrow, you got to remember to say it. It’s actually the 31st of January today and just so you know why I said …

Per: Yeah.

James: I say white rabbits were …

Per: Recording a week ahead.

James: Yeah. But in episode 36 we talk bout UX and lots of things we said. It’s really worth listening to that show but UX isn’t really a job. UX is not – I mean information – you can be an information architect. It’s a specialist role. It’s a job, right?

Per: Right, and you can’t be a UX.

James: No. What’s a UXer? A UXer is basically someone who’s just one of a whole range of different roles, specialist roles that happens to fall under this vague, fluffy umbrella descriptor that’s called user experience. So it’s a concept versus a job and for me in that case, IA wins every time when you put it up against UX because one is a real job. One is just a fluffy phrase. OK, different arguments, you want to put IA up against IxD. So you got interaction design versus information architecture.

Per: Yeah, or graphic design.

James: Yeah.

Per: Versus UX.

James: You see, now we can have one of those kinds of would a tiger or snake win. It can be one of those kinds of conceptual agreements but I just think it’s a whole waste of time.

Per: And are you allowed to call yourself a UX developer, stuff like that.

James: Oh, UX developer, yeah. That has come up a few times now.

Per: But in the end then, I think that’s something I really like about UX, that it actually is about what you’re trying to accomplish and not the labels that you’re putting inside that phrase. So the UX is trying to break down silos and take a bigger picture, a bigger perspective, have a bigger perspective of things while this article is saying that no, let’s make UX smaller and push IA out of there, which is really interesting.

James: You’re right. This is kind of feeling that we understand what UX is and we have this therapy group thing and we all believe. But at the same time when we actually do our work, we’re doing things like user research. We’re doing wireframing. We’re doing information architecture. We’re doing usability testing. We’re doing – there’s always a more concrete job that we’re actually doing.

Per: Yeah.

James: We’re just marketing ourselves or bracketing it into user experience.

Per: Exactly. Currently, I’m working as the UX lead in a project and as a UX lead, the UX lead role is not doing stuff but the stuff that I’m doing with the team members is what we’re doing but that can be development stuff. What JavaScript library to choose and the design stuff.

OK, this button or the icons that we’re actually putting into a font. Why are we putting them into a font? Is it faster loading? It works on retina screens and stuff like that. Then I’m off doing research and interviews with another girl and we’re trying to bring that into personas and so that’s the stuff we’re doing. UX was just a way for myself to sell myself to the project.

James: Yeah. I mean I’m a UX designer in my kind of project and those of you that are long time listeners to the show will know that I’ve over the years generally kind of stepped back from using the phrase “UX” in my profiling because I don’t think customers know what it means half the time.

Agencies know what it means and big companies know what it means but a lot of small ones have no idea at all what we’re talking about. But I would use it more and more these days because it has grown in use. I don’t think it has grown in understanding of what it actually means.

Per: I know we’re still arguing about that. Obviously that’s why we’re here.

James: Many times like what you’re talking about now, my role in this project, I’m effectively a cross between project manager and mentor and coach. But I’m doing some concept design work and doing some wireframing work but I’m sitting down with programmers to give them – well, to coach them and give some advice for – teach them what’s important and what to think about.

Per: I’m having great UX discussions with the developers and they question everything I say and I have to motivate it and sometimes they have better suggestions than I do.

James: Yeah.

Per: So my job isn’t to have the right answer. It’s to make sure these conversations happen.

James: Yeah. A lot of times, the job boils back down to reminding people of the original problem.

Per: Yeah, why we’re doing it.

James: Why are we doing this for a user? What’s the user after?

Per: Oh, I actually have a great example because one of the developers is really hard core and he’s really, really good. I mean he goes home to program. That’s what he does after work. So that’s all on his mind and I love his work and what he’s doing and we’re building an editor, an inline editor where you just click sort of like if you’ve ever used that. Just click and edit on page.

He built this editor for this project and we sat down last Friday with one of the users and she was supposed to enter content into different sections and stuff and on a retrospective just a few days ago, he had mentioned how incredibly valuable to have – it had been for him to see the stuff that he thought no user would ever do.

She did it in two minutes and it made him want to go back. I want to fix this. I want to make sure the next time he wants to watch her again do it and just that. It was a wild feeling for me, having him talk about it like that and mentioning that. It has never been that valuable for him looking at a user that early on because it’s very early on in the interface and then the production phase.

So just having that people – giving those insights means that I’m bringing value to the project but also to each individual in the project.

James: Exactly. I did some user observations this morning.

Per: Yeah.

James: And we had two of the programmers with us but that – one of them it was the first time he had ever seen anyone use the stuff he’d programmed, which is – I mean this is excellent.

Per: It’s fantastic.

James: You don’t need two-way glass. You can just sit there and smile anyway and see them, watching people really use the product in real situations.

Per: But getting back to sort of information architecture, we’ve also made use of for some things a terminologist. Now a terminologist is a very specialist role within the information specialist genre or branch or whatever.

James: Now that’s a job.

Per: That’s a job, exactly. But is it within UX? Of course it is. As long as you see UX as something that defines what goals you’re trying to achieve.

James: Yeah.

Per: So trying to kick something out of the UX mixture, sort of – now it’s starting to offend me the more I think about it.

James: Yeah. OK. Can we answer this? Has information architecture suffered because of, well, the growth of user experience or the growth of how we’ve used the phrase “user experience” more? I suppose we’ve answered our question there in that we don’t get asked to do IA things anymore.

So yeah, I guess information architecture as a specialist role has taken a step out with the limelight but if we still are just as aware of the importance of getting IA right in websites now because it’s navigation, whatever – there’s several different things that IA spans in our digital world. I don’t think we’re any – we’ve got any less importance attached to that work.

Per: No. To actually make this have this conclusion, you would say that websites have gotten a lot worse because IA has been stunted and people are not paying attention to it. On the contrary, people are probably paying attention to it. We still think it is valuable. We may be calling it lots of other stuff but that doesn’t mean the end product is suffering.

James: We know there’s a couple of dozen different aspects and roles at least you need to think of and deal with when you’re producing or creating a Web service or Web product and we’ve become more and more aware about how relevant these all are and during the last decade.

Per: Yeah.

James: We’re growing as an industry and what that boils down to is in a lot of projects, you’ve still got the same size pie budget-wise but now you’re able to spread this out a bit more and yeah, there might be now that – thankfully we’re putting a little bit bigger chunk on user testing or research and that possibly doesn’t mean there’s a little bit less of a chunk for information architecture. But are we producing better digital experiences?

Per: Yeah.

James: They’re getting better.

Per: Amen.

James: You want to go on to the next article?

Per: Yeah, I do.

James: Before we get really cross.

Per: Well – because this is sort of the Whitney Hess’ article, this – the answer to this one.


James: Now she – this is User Experience Is… by Whitney Hess who we met, didn’t we, the other year?

Per: Yeah. Well, whatever year that was.

James: 2012.

Per: Oh my god.

James: Sometimes I can remember some things. I don’t know why.

Per: I mean I love her writing. I love her blog. I know I love what she – everything that’s on her website. I like to make a hard copy of it and just put it up as my own.

James: We’ve referenced her before and her ten common misconceptions about user experience design.

Per: Yeah.

James: I think we’ve got a link to.

Per: Which still holds strong actually.

James: Yeah, on slideshare, it’s an excellent presentation. This was an article she published. I think it was about two days after the IA storm broke out.

Per: But it wasn’t in response to that. I don’t think.

James: No. No. I would have to ask her but I think it was just a coincidence that she published this the same time. She was asked by the organizers or by the guys at Giant UX, organizers of Giant Conference in Charleston. Yes, to describe UX in 200 words or less and she did that. She published it. Should I read it?

Per: Read it. Go for it.

James: Let’s put my best reading voice on. Let’s see if I can do this without stumbling.

“User Experience is a commitment to developing products and services with purpose, compassion, and integrity. It is the never-ending process of seeing the world from the customers’ perspective and working to improve the quality of their lives. It is the never-ending process of maintaining the health of the business and finding new ways to help it grow sustainably.” Oh, I was right.

“It is the perfect balance between making money and making meaning. The user experience practitioner is neither sage nor saint; it is not their role to have all the answers to life’s questions or to advocate for altruism in a capitalist society. They are simply the facilitators of a more collaborative, transparent way of operating in business today – breaking down the walls between silos and bringing the customer into the boardroom.

User Experience is the responsibility of every member of the organization. It is a central philosophy, shared principles. It is not a series of activities and deliverables to perform, but an enlightened way of being. UX is mindfulness.”

Per: Nice.

James: I stumbled a couple of times.

Per: That’s OK. I think people got it.

James: Yeah.

Per: So that’s 200 words or less, UX. It fits fantastically well with my views as well.

James: Yeah, and what we’ve been talking about, what we’ve mentioned in previous shows and earlier today. UX is mindfulness. UX is a way of thinking and a concept.

Per: Breaking down silos.

James: Yeah.

Per: Tagline for the show.

James: Right. It’s not a specific job or I think Whitney says – where was that bit? I’ve lost it. It’s 200 words. How can I lose something in a 200-word – we can see the whole thing on my screen. I still can’t see the bit. There we go. It’s right at the end, isn’t it? “It’s not a series of activities or deliverables to perform”.

Per: Right.

James: We need to think user experience itself is not a checklist. Like we said earlier in the show, there’s a whole load of different specialities of things that you could do that can be classed as being part of the user experience. But it all boils down to user experience.

Per: Exactly. It’s something that never stops. You can’t have a model of a user experience do this, do that, and then you’re done.

James: You can’t buy it either.

Per: No.

James: You can’t say, “I would like more user experience, please.”

Per: Well, people buy that from me.

James: You thief!

Per: We want two more hours of user experience. “OK,” I say.

James: Do you have a bag of user experience that you dish out?

Per: I know what you mean although I have been delivered actually because I had to send an invoice where I delivered 20 items of Per Axbom to a loading dock because that was the only way that I could invoice Ericsson. That was quite funny many years ago.

James: Many Per Axbom dolls.

Per: Yeah.

James: You don’t order user experience you order something else. At the end of the day, we’ve got goals. We’ve got things that users need to achieve. You’ve got things that the business needs to achieve and there is what we’re trying to work with and to improve.

Per: There are actually I think two things that people might react to in this description. One is maintaining the health of the business.

James: Yes.

Per: I’m not sure a lot of UX practitioners actually see themselves as responsible for that.

James: I think you’re right there.

Per: Although I believe it’s really important.

James: You mean the holier than thou thing that user experience is the one to rule them all.

Per: Exactly. The technology has to fit in with the user experience because it’s the users that must decide what – yeah.

James: Yeah, and the company making money. Now that’s actually secondary as well. User experience is the king.

Per: Because what I like about problem solving is finding and seeing how many resources do we have actually to accomplish this and what can we do within the user experience realm based on the business goals and the technology we’re using.

James: Yeah. We’re making pragmatic decisions all the time. We don’t have unlimited money and time and resources. So the user experience is always going to be compromised. Is it fair for me to say that?

Per: I think so, yeah.

James: Because we’ve always got a limited budget. So we can never do kind of ethnographic studies for four years.

Per: And you’re always going to have products and services that fail so a lot of the user experience is about realizing that you can’t do it all and having the right attitude. If you take it into a micro interaction when something goes wrong, have a friendly error message and not a bad one.

James: Yeah.

Per: The other point that people might not agree with is “the user experience practitioner is neither sage nor saint” because there again it’s almost the same theme as last one. I think a lot of people see themselves as the good people.

James: Yeah, defending the user.

Per: Yeah, and the people with the money are the bad people.

James: Yeah.

Per: I love how she’s saying that, well, it’s not the UX practitioner’s role to actually decide what’s good or bad.

James: No.

Per: They have to just focus on the user and make that match, that golden match.

James: It’s not the UX person’s role to basically bring down capitalist society.

Per: Exactly.

James: Or whatever it feels like at times where the user really needs to do what the user needs to do and profits are not relevant. It’s the user. We’ve got a role to fill and it’s getting the best – it’s giving the best to the – well, it’s helping solve the users. It’s helping to deliver for the user using the resources that we have in our disposal.

Per: Yeah. So I’m actually going to frame this and put it up on the wall in my new studio.

James: Oh, that’s nice.

Per: Yes.

James: Yeah. You can get one of those like – that wallpaper. You can get photos printed on wallpaper now.

Per: Oh, and have this across the whole wall.

James: Yeah.

Per: That would be awesome.

James: Yeah, do that. You know, kids’ bedrooms now. You can often get like the giant pictures and things putting onto wallpaper and you put them. I think yeah, go for it.

Per: See, Whitney, you could capitalize on this.

James: Yeah, start selling wallpaper.

Per: Fantastic.

James: It was nice that we got Whitney to produce such a kind of level-headed, calm common sense answer to the school yard bickering, contrasting to the school yard bickering we’ve got going on over there with the UX IA.

Per: I love it, yeah.

James: Yeah.

Per: Let’s move on.

James: Let’s move on.


James: So third up is Anthony’s article. I can’t find it. I can’t find who he is.

Per: We will put that in the show notes.

James: We will find it later, yeah. How to make sure users don’t delete, don’t accidentally delete. Now, this is – I mean it’s not the biggest of articles this one but two of the ones this week are actually really, really short. This can’t be 200 words.

Per: I know, but this one is extremely practical and it’s one of those – it’s so funny that when you mentioned this article to me that we were – I think the first time I saw this was in MailChimp.

James: Yeah.

Per: This interaction that’s being described in this article and I thought of using it the other day in our project.

James: You’re right, MailChimp. Say that a little more about …

Per: Yeah, people don’t know what we’re talking about yet.

James: No. They never do.

Per: OK. OK. So the title says it’s something. You want to make sure that people don’t accidentally delete something which is sort of a pain. So you have a delete button. What are you going to do? A lot of the times you have this confirmation window.

James: “Are you sure?”

Per: Yes or no. Gmail is also of course making it possible to actually go back. In this case, if you actually need to delete something, and you want to make sure that people actually want to delete it, have them put some more effort into that, not just answer yes or no which could go wrong. Have them actually type out the word “delete” in a box, in a text input box and then click OK which is perfect. If it’s important information, you want to make sure people don’t delete it. Make it harder for them to do it.

James: I think it’s bullshit.

Per: Awesome. I thought you would be coming to this, actually.

James: I don’t buy it. I mean I just think it’s just irritating – I mean like MailChimp. I know it from there as well that you have to type in “delete” or whatever. You have to type in a word in capital letters while standing on one leg and tapping your head and rubbing your tummy…

Per: No, you just have to type in the word. You just have to type in the word and you know exactly what you’re doing because you’re typing it.

James: This is a solution looking for a problem as such. I mean you mentioned the undo.

Per: I know. I did.

James: Why are we messing around with this complex pratting around, making people type in the equivalent of an eight-letter password with uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers in it when you could actually just implement undo.

Per: You have to see it as a design pattern and undo is really complicated to implement.

James: Why?

Per: Now, this is interesting because now we’re actually …

James: Why? Why is it complicated to implement?

Per: Because people are not familiar with it. Most people aren’t and pushing delete and realizing that somewhere you’re supposed to find a button that says, “Oh, I can undo what I just did.” That’s harder than people to actually make sure that they’re confident enough that when they’re deleting something, they’re deleting it.

I think it’s contextual depending on how valuable this information is and in my case where you would be deleting a whole sort of like a story. It’s actually a treatment of sorts with chapters and well, 20 chapters with 5 steps in each and stuff like that. You delete that whole thing and you would have to make sure that there is – if there’s an internet, you lose internet connectivity, and you don’t want to bring it back and stuff like that.

James: I think we’re forgetting the problem here. What you’re trying to do? You’re trying to just – you’re trying to move something out of view. You don’t want something to be for example in a list anymore. Deleting it is actually – a lot of the times, it’s not really relevant. I mean I’m not actually interested in having it physically shredded and put through a blender or whatever. I actually just don’t want to see it anymore. So why do we even have to delete? Implement undo. Make it easy to make something move out of the way. Make it possible for users to retrieve stuff at that moment when they’ve realized, “Oh no, I didn’t meant to do that.” Oh, great. I think Gmail is a good example of that but …

Per: And then there’s the possibility of course of having an archive or a trash can where it’s kept until you actually delete the trash can.

James: Or always kept. Dropbox. Can you delete version history from Dropbox?

Per: I have no idea.

James: You can’t. As far as I know, I don’t think you can delete your files from Dropbox. If you’ve deleted a file, you can always look back in …

Per: Oh, yeah, right. I think you have to pay for the – something, yeah.

James: Fair enough. You’ve still covered the use case. It’s allowed to be really easy to delete something. I mean Dropbox doesn’t go, “Oh, this looks like a really important document.” Quick! You’ve got to write in the word “delete” in capital letters with an eight at the end while standing on one leg before I delete it for you.

They let you delete it because that’s actually what you want to do. Then in the situations where you actually panic and realize you shouldn’t have deleted it, then they’ve got a use case to allow you to come – because then you’re going to be impassioned. You’re going to be actually motivated to find out how to get it back. You’re going to contact them or you’re going to dig deeper into the how-tos and say, “Oh, look, I can get it actually back. Here’s what I do.”

So you’re catering for that edge case by allowing people to just get on with deleting stuff when most of the times they want to do it. I’ve been annoyed by MailChimp a couple of times when I went to use it. They’ve made is so much harder for me to delete when I should be fully aware of what I’m doing and I want to just do it.

Per: I actually liked it when I first saw it in MailChimp, like I said.

James: Oh, yeah.

Per: Because it made me think again. Yeah, but I don’t delete – that’s another thing. In Gmail I delete all the time.

James: Yeah.

Per: All the time.

James: Yeah.

Per: In MailChimp, very, very seldom actually and in our system you would be deleting maybe once a year.

James: Yeah.

Per: Because it’s that big of a stuff. So writing that code to actually do what you’re saying would be a lot more work than to implement this and I love that we’re disagreeing on this. Now that we’re talking about …

James: It’s the first time.

Per: I remember actually writing an article about this when I was comparing it to a regular trash can and you throw something in and the trash can would ask, “Are you sure you want to do this?” before you’re actually allowed to toss it in which of course is what you’re saying is you don’t want to do that. You want to be able to toss it and oh, shit, I didn’t want to toss that. I want to bring it back up.

James: Perhaps, yeah. We’ve got to remember the context. When you press that delete button, you’re actually just – you’re often just wanting it out of the way, to let them get it out the way and then when it comes to the point that you’ve realized you’re in a situation where god, I needed that, then we deal with that situation then. I think this is a solution looking for a problem in a sense. We don’t need to get here.

Per: I have to say the data I’m working on now is patient data and health journal information. It’s very – there’s a lot of legal stuff going on here.

James: I’m not saying there are not laws that might get in the way here for …

Per: I have to look that up actually based on this.

James: Yeah. While we’re talking now, I’m seeing as well the whole kind of I want to quit Facebook, deleting your account on Facebook and I don’t know if they’ve changed this but how it used to be is that when you deleted your account, it didn’t delete anything, whatsoever.

Next time you’ve kind of regretted and want you to kind of get back into Facebook. When you join up again, it all magically came back.

Per: Right.

James: So they let you think it would delete it. Actually they didn’t do anything.

Per: That’s another way to do it.

James: Again it’s an undo without bothering you with the details of undo at the time you’re doing it. They’re just letting you go on with closing your account.

Per: Exactly.

James: And I think then to actually – I can’t remember the details but I think you can actually put a request to properly remove your information. But to do that, you have to email them basically and do a formal request to getting to delete the information.

Per: Right.

James: And again, I think that’s a sensible use case there with the people who really are worried about their personal integrity and their data. Then they are going to contact and take that extra step to effectively fill in the word “delete” in capitals.

Per: Absolutely.

James: Because they put through it by email to Facebook. So if the information is – has to be permanently removed, and is so important that definitely you can’t get it back, then I think maybe some kind of manual situation where you have to contact them around the side as in you come in by another route, support route. That really is a much better solution than this. Undo is the winner.

Per: I’m still going to argue that there are contexts when this is OK and again about the development costs to implement something like this.

James: How does it cost more to just not delete this from a database? Just put a flag in and delete it. It doesn’t cost anything.

Per: The developers I’ve talked to about this, they say that – so obviously I’m not in the know exactly what’s going on here. Maybe they’re just fooling me. But in my mind, building the interface to bring something back also is a few more steps. Adding this window to the delete interface and actually then deleting it is a shorter, quicker route.

James: Oh, deleting from these quicker database-wise but I mean you don’t have to – I mean it’s so expensive to create an undo and I don’t really – it shouldn’t be really.

Per: More time-consuming, has to be done at the end of the sprint and maybe then next print we will implement the undo function but this will be enough for now and then it gets stuck there and …

James: Yeah, yeah.

Per: For me that actually does connect with what we’re saying before that UX is always compromised based on money, technology or whatever.

James: That’s true. I mean I buy that. I say the legal side or even existing architecture. There’s a system in place at the moment which stops you from doing things in a certain way. I think you’re right that probably the undo or the delete is possibly one of those classic things that maybe you’ve got integration to another system which doesn’t support anything other than – there is no hide. There is no leave it there.

Per: Oh yeah, that’s another thing. Yeah.

James: So it might be the case that you’re forced to delete something in a backend system.

Per: Right, because you’re …

James: To make it vanish from that view because you don’t have full control all the way out.

Per: You’re integrated with seven other systems. Exactly, yeah.

James: Yeah. So yeah, in reality I buy that there’s going to be situations …

Per: This is great. I love this. We should argue more often. We should find more articles like this. But I would love to hear what people think about this as well.

James: Delete or undo.

Per: Our listeners, yeah.

James: Yeah. Yeah, I would too. Yeah. You have been wanting first to disagree about this.

Per: Yes.

James: This is one of them where I do – I think it’s just – I think we’re missing the point on this. So I think we’re about wrapping up.

Per: I think we are.

James: Yeah. There’s one last thing. Remember what that is?

Per: Yeah. Our last thing?

James: Yeah. Say thank you to RevRise for sponsoring today’s show.

Per: Ah, nice. Go for it.

James: You can check out their form analytics tool at

Per: Right, and also of course don’t forget to visit

James: Yeah.

Per: For the links, the resources mentioned in this episode. We will find Anthony’s name and put that in the show notes and tell your friends and colleagues if you like the show. Tell us and you can find us pretty much everywhere as UX Podcast. Leave us a voicemail. Nobody has done that yet.

James: No, they haven’t. I’m surprised actually. I thought someone would have left some kind of …

Per: Do it now! OK. So the number is +1 for the States, 646-783-1050. Thanks for listening.

James: Thanks.

Per: Remember to keep moving.

James: See you on the other side.

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One comment on “#66 James & Per stunt UX

  1. Doug says:

    Good stuff. I like hearing your arguments about the “DELETE” idea. It’s a concrete example of looking at the pros and cons of a design decision.

    It shows you can’t please all of the people all the time, so you have to use intuition and/or user testing to find the better option.

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