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"Restore Default Settings" design requires significant improvement
Open, Needs TriagePublic


Special:Preferences contains a big fat red link, "Restore all default settings (in all sections)" right next to the "Save" button. Thankfully, clicking that link brings you to a confirmation step instead of actually executing. However, this is extraordinarily bad user experience design.

I actually know what I'm doing and I spent a full 60 seconds deciding whether or not I should click that button before doing so. I was pretty sure that no one would be dumb enough to develop a feature like that without requiring a confirmation step, but I couldn't be sure.

  1. This feature should be inside of its own tab, "Restore Default", which consists of a single block of text and a large warning icon. The button itself should be bright red, and there should be a "No thanks, take me out of here" link.
  1. Clicking the big red button still shouldn't flatten the user's preferences; it should go to an additional confirmation step before that happens.

Some thoughts:

  • There's a reason you haven't seen <input type="reset" /> used anywhere since 1998
  • There's a reason "Restore to factory default settings" is buried deeply on mobile devices
  • This should be a rare action, so making it front and center (bright red on every page) doesn't make any sense
  • A destructive action of this type should never be placed in such close proximity to a constructive action ("Save" [save _what_, I might add])
  • A destructive action of this type should always be quarantined and isolated.

Event Timeline

Does "restore default settings" mean "restore to factory defaults, before I made changes"? Or does it mean "throw away my changes and restore my settings as I previously had saved them?" That's my first question, and I'm a native English speaker who is also a professional designer. It's dangerous and confusing!

There was originally (beginning in Lee's original prototype) a reset button next to the save button, labeled "Reset preferences", which worked like <input type=reset>, except it was emulated by reloading preferences from the database. In 2009 155ddf6de4a2aa68dcdd8ca7d0f9db21ced4b228 the feature was removed, and instead a link was provided to reset the preferences to the default, with a confirmation page. The placement of the link was the same as the old button.

I can't believe I never noticed this before. Seriously. I'm kicking myself about it.

It's been a year since this bug was filed. Is there any chance that anyone cares at all?