Custom Digital

Preventing user mistakes with the right UX design

May 20,2021

If you've ever accidentally clicked the wrong button on a website or mobile app when you shouldn't have, you're not alone. Some platforms are just more mistake-prone than others due to their design, which means the right design can help prevent user errors and save your customer service department a lot of anguished phone calls.

Have you ever made a mistake while using a website or mobile app, such as deleting items in your cart that you shouldn’t have or exiting out of filling out your profile before saving? You’re not alone: it’s totally normal for users to not read everything on an app or site even if it’s just a few lines. 

Many UX designers have picked up on these mistakes and can tailor their designs to prevent them. Remember, we’re in an age where 88% of customers expect brands to take more digital initiatives, and error-proofing your design can be a part of that. Even if these initiatives don’t add much beauty to your product, users will be thanking you.

Designing for errors can be done by rearranging components so users don’t click something by mistake, changing a button’s color or font size, or other little visual modifications that make it harder to accidentally perform the wrong action. One of the most obvious indicators is probably popups catching possible mistakes before hitting send or confirm. 

Here’s a few ways apps have been designed to prevent their users ending up in the wrong situations, whether it’s forgetting to attach a file or even worse, getting kidnapped. 


Lyft gives you this popup if your driver veers off the GPS path.

Have you ever felt the terrifying jolt of fear as you look outside your Lyft’s window and realize that you passed the right freeway exit to get home three miles ago? Or even worse, it happened when you’re asleep? Lyft knows that it’s possible. It’s happened. To keep riders safe, Lyft will notify its users when the driver’s suspiciously veered off the set path with a shortcut to notify them. What a lifesaver -- literally!

  • Gmail detecting that you didn’t attach the attachment you should’ve. 

We’ve all felt the embarrassment of the “where’s the file?” response after sending an email that was supposed to have an attachment with it. Gmail’s AI can now detect that you wrote “I have attached” without actually attaching anything. When that happens, it’ll send you a popup before you send the email asking whether you meant to attach something or not. 

  • Mailchimp makes sure you don’t delete the wrong campaigns.

Mailchimp is a software a lot of companies use to send their marketing emails to thousands of people every day. Even though you probably don’t spend too long reading these promotional emails, the companies can spend quite a bit of time crafting them with their designers and copywriters. That’s why accidentally deleting an email hits so much harder than you deleting your 3-sentence email to your mom asking for money.

Hitting a button or even a trash can symbol to delete something can be way too easy, especially if you had to borrow your friend’s laggy laptop that hasn’t been updated since 2008. 

  • Slack helps you not annoy other people.

Ever accidentally sent messages to someone and remembered it’s 3 AM in their timezone afterwards? Slack knows that sinking feeling. That’s why it’ll notify you that you’re messaging people in other timezones when you use the @channel function, which tags and notifies everyone in your channel. 

This is especially useful nowadays with a scattered remote workforce, one that’s sometimes internationally distributed. It may be working hours in your country and you might be dying to share the joyous news of your brilliant accomplishments, but on the other side of the world, your international co-workers might be trying to sleep!

Your app or site may not be anything like the famous examples we’ve named above, but there’s probably still some way to prevent your users from sending the wrong message (literally and figuratively). Spending a few weeks on the right design could save you hundreds of hours of anguished customer service calls and unhappy reviews. If you need some ideas to start, you can reach out to us and we’ll connect you to a world-class designer who can figure out how to get your app raved about on Twitter.