User friendly ways to handle account deletion

By Ramy Khuffash

We’ve all clicked “yes” on an “are you sure” dialog when what we meant was “definitely not!” When we’re constantly dismissing alerts, it just becomes second nature.

For something as important as deleting an account, a standard confirmation alert won’t cut it.

In this article, I go through three approaches you can use to decrease accidental deletes.

Type your password

Meetup delete account screen

A common approach, as used here by Meetup, is to require you to type your password to confirm that you want to delete your account. This should be enough to make you stop and realise exactly what you’re doing, however deep you are in autopilot mode.

This would also stop someone deleting your account if they happened to get onto a computer that you were logged into (assuming the password field wasn’t automatically filled with a password manager).

Type “CLOSE”

Eventbrite delete account screen

Another approach is to require you to type “DELETE” or “CLOSE” to confirm. Some, like Eventbrite, do this while also requiring you to type your password.

This will certainly take you out of autopilot. You could easily type your password without putting much thought into it, but how often do you have to type “DELETE” or “CLOSE?”

Including the password as a confirmation step also ensures the intended user is the one deleting the account.

Having an undo option

Twitter delete account screen

This is my favorite approach, but there are some downsides. Offer an “undo” option. Here, Twitter lets you cancel your account deletion by signing in within the next 30 days. Before getting to this point, Twitter requires you type your password to confirm, so it’s a bulletproof solution.

This solves the problem of accidental deletes as well as regret. The downside is that some people might not like the fact that their account isn’t deleted right away, but I assume this is an edge case.

Regardless of how the user confirms their intent to delete an account, it’s vital to let them know what will happen when they delete their account. What will happen to their data? What will happen to their username? etc.

An email like this, from Dropbox is also worth sending, incase the deletion was unintended even after all of the confirmation steps.

Have you seen any other approaches you like? Let me know.

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