“Nothing” is an Option

If someone asks you a yes-or-no question, you may feel obligated to choose one of the answers. In fact, the one being asked should be given the chance of not answering the question.

Look at the screen on the right. I’m asked to rate a mobile application. There are two answers given. Basically, one answer “I love it!”, meaning Yes to me, and the other “Needs some work”, meaning No. But the problem is I don’t I felt like I know enough to say one way or the other. However, I’m not given this in-between option. What should I do? It seems like I have to choose one of the answers as I don’t see any way to get rid of this overlay. It’s quite frustrating.

Look at another example on the left. At the bottom, there are a No option (No thanks), Yes option (LEARN MORE), and the between-yes-and-no option (Remind me later). In this case, I’m not forced to choose either Yes or No. I can choose to do nothing now. The LEARN MORE option seems to be a Yes option, but to me it’s like a “soft” Yes because selecting this option doesn’t mean I’m going to take this offer.

“Do nothing now” or “Do it later” is a legitimate option or sometimes a preferred option for users in a hurry. Uers may be interested, but for some reason they would not want to take any action at the moment.

In conclusion, UI designers need to consider these options when requesting an action from users:

  • Now
  • Later
  • Never
  • More
In addition to these three options, sometimes users may also need to have an option like “LEARN MORE” discussed in the above example. Or it’s like an tell-me-more option. I’m not making a decision yet, but I have a little time to spare and see if I can take advantage of this offer. One more example to illustrate my point.
Challenge yourself and see if you can match my suggested options to the buttons in the above example.

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