Is it OK to cancel?

The problem of the ambiguous “confirm a cancel” dialogue box is still with us in 2011.

Are you sure you want to cancel? If you cancel now you will not receive this file. OK? Cancel?

“So, do I click Cancel to cancel or OK to cancel.”

“You click OK to cancel. Cancel cancels the cancel.”

“Shouldn’t I click Cancel to cancel?”

“No, Cancel cancels the cancel, click OK, OK.”

“OK I clicked OK to cancel.”

“You wanted to cancel!?! You should have clicked Cancel. Now you’ve cancelled it. That’s not OK.”

Reminds me of a great scene in Intolerable Cruelty (you’ll need to turn up the volume).

Moral: Check the “Do not ask me again” box.


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  • Steve Bell says:

    My favourite, from a game in the days of crude pre-Windows/Mac graphics – confirming a request to exit the game: “to exit, press enter. To stay in, press escape.”

    And I struck a nice ambiguity the other day when registering to attend an event on the Unlimited Potential ( website:

    I go to the page that carries the details of the event and I’m faced with two buttons: “login” and “register”. Which would you click?

    The right answer: you login; then on the next page, you press the button labelled “RSVP”.

    The “register” button means what it would mean if it were on the home page: set up a new account. But on the page relating specifically to an event, it’s confusing.

  • Mike says:

    Ha Steve – “To stay in, press escape” – classic.


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