Bad Design #35 – it’s not a nuclear launch

Confirmation can be a good thing and is often necessary. Like confirming whether you really want to launch those nuclear warheads, or whether you just bumped the switch accidentally (geez, I hope it’s not that easy).

But the levels of action protection, ie. the number of steps or checks that take place before an action is executed, must be proportional to the severity of the consequences of those actions.

Have you tried logging out of Skype lately? Here is a

badly designed action protection sequence.

Let me show you how many steps it takes to fully shutdown Skype.

1 ) click SKYPE menu

2 ) click SIGN OUT in the drop down menu

This logs you out, but does not shut the application down.


3 ) click SKYPE again

4 ) click CLOSE


This does not close the application, even though that is what you are led to believe by the word CLOSE !!

No, this merely minimises the application down to the task bar


5 ) right click the SKYPE minimised item in the task bar


6 ) click QUIT SKYPE


This does not quit Skype yet…no, one more check!


YES!!!! click QUIT !!!!


7 clicks to quit Skype…that’s crazy.


Since entering the workforce, I have always worked with computers. In fact my first job was with Packard Bell, building computers. So you could say I know my shit. And because I know my shit, I always log out of everything on my computers once I’m done using them, because I know the possible consequences of not doing so. So yes, the majority of people will never go through this 7 step process of shutting down Skype, but I do…and actually you should too.

Regardless of whether you do or don’t, it does not matter. Skype has implemented this process, and therefore it is intended to be used by someone…and whomever that someone is, they are suffering.

It should not be this painful.

Another issue with making the process so convoluted, is that it deters people from actually doing it. Perhaps this is what Skype wants, for you never to log out of their application. But adding these barriers , and making it an effort to shutdown the application, compromises people’s security, and that’s just not cricket.

The consequences of accidentally shutting down Skype are basically zero….it’s not a nuclear launch for crying out loud… sort it out.


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