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November 24, 2004 12:01 AM

Broken: Unsubscribe button

SelftestBruce Bookman writes:

Broken: SelfTest's unsubscribe page.  Bless the double negative and the Wayne's World language usage.  "Please remove me . . . NOT"


I don't think thats broken, the button is simply giving a summery for anyone too lazy to read the text above it.

Posted by: Vic Z at November 24, 2004 10:16 AM

A better summary would be "Remove", "Remove Me" or "Remove Me From Your List" (the button graphic is certainly wide enough).

"Not" is bizarre.

Posted by: Rob at November 24, 2004 11:36 AM

I have seen a lot worse.

What is nice about this design is that there are two courses of actions and two buttons. You can either STAY on the mailing list or LEAVE the mailing list.

Of course, the text is horrific. I would recommend the buttons read "Cancel" and "Unsubscribe".

Posted by: Robby Slaughter at November 24, 2004 12:05 PM

Robby -- "Cancel" and "Unsubscribe" introduces the usual cancel problem. "Go here to cancel your subscription", etc. But you wrote an even better button text right there in your comment -- "Stay", "Leave"! Or if that's too succinct, "Unsubscribe"/"Do nothing". It's all about using unambiguous verbs.

Posted by: mendel at November 24, 2004 12:38 PM

Yea, even if it is giving a summary for those to lazy to read, it confuses the people who do read it, because the continue means to keep getting them and the cancel me "Not" button sounds like I'll keep getting them too

Posted by: Philip at November 24, 2004 02:26 PM

Then again, it would be unusually candid for a spammer to actually add a big "NOT!" at the end of "remove me from the mailing list".

Posted by: maz at November 24, 2004 06:46 PM

heh iv found one even worse. it was an unsubscribe link from an email listing thing i joined(some horoscope thing) and in the link the 2 buttons were "quit" "cancel"........needless to say i just added them to the block list from my email.(there was more on that page but i forgot it was awhile ago)

Posted by: Leigh at November 24, 2004 08:16 PM

mendel---Good point. The word "cancel" is a bad choice, since people may think you mean "cancel my subscription".

What no one has mentioned yet is that it is email that is broken. Email messages that are part of an automated list operate just like those that are from individuals. But there could be a hidden header which tells the email client that this message is part of a subscription list, and to display an "Unsubscribe" button. That way, we would not have to build all these distinctive interfaces, nor find our way to these websites when we want to unsubscribe!

Posted by: Robby Slaughter at November 25, 2004 12:42 PM

Robby has a point about emails. The originators are perfecly free, right now, to add the extra header. No mail client will understand it, of course, but over time if enough subscription lists send it, it would be incorporated.

Of course that would only work for legitimate email subscription lists, not spam.

Posted by: Simon Trew at November 27, 2004 07:46 PM

Actually simon, I think it would work for spam. Remember that email is broken, in that it does not include a way to accurately indentify both the *type* and the *source* of the message.

My proposal for a voluntary type-header for subscription lists is really just an argument for some degree of self-classification of email types. But a second header could also include an authentication token, some sort of fancy one-way encrypted fingerprint that a mail client could use to automatically authenticate the sender of the message. Legitmate email servers could start using this, and eventually clients would stop ignoring it, thus killing spam.

Perchance to dream.

Posted by: Robby Slaughter at December 1, 2004 06:54 AM

Robny, Simon:

Actually, a lot of mailing lists *do* have the extra headers you talk about. They're part of the Mailman list-management software, and I also believe that other mailing list software use them too.

Posted by: Ciaran at December 7, 2004 11:19 AM

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