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Tumblr's delete account confirmation modal

by Jen Maggio, Senior Product Designer at Appcues

Deletion is a scary concept.  If you own a blog, you've probably spent months or even years crafting content, gaining followers, and building up your online reputation. You've made a digital footprint in the form of created assets and conversations, all of which took time and care to make.

Deleting a blog account is serious business. You're not just deleting a username and password combination—you're deleting your creative content, your unique voice, your history in the community, and the digital space that you occupied.

That's why Tumblr has safeguards in place to prevent users from accidentally clicking on a delete button and taking dramatic action by mistake. To ensure that the decision is intentional and that the repercussions are fully understood, Tumblr presents a fullscreen modal to users who opt to delete their account.

It's a simple but effective bit of UX that's done very well.

this is a screenshot image of a fullscreen modal window that appears when a user wants to delete their Tumblr account. the modal window says: now just a minute. and includes 2 manual input field
Tumblr's confirm account deletion modal

Why this is really good UX:

  • The text here is awesome. It's clever, funny, and on brand.
  • Complex user action is required—users must manually type their information—in order to confirm deletion, rather than merely having another button that says "Yes, I'd really like to delete my account". This little bit of friction in the workflow forces users to give the decision more thought, and offers an opportunity to reaffirm or reconsider their conviction to delete their account.
  • Username and password are required, which is a nice security measure.
this image is a diagram showing a UX teardown of the tumblr delete account confirmation modal
Our teardown of the experience
  • The delete button's text doesn't just say "Delete Account", it says "Delete Everything." Even if the user didn't read the copy above that explains that all their content will be deleted, the word "everything" will make them pause and help them understand that their content will go down with the ship.
  • The modal is visually arresting: It's dark (which lends a serious tone to the content), fullscreen, and the content is dead center—there's nowhere for user attention to wander.
  • The button, like any good "warning, here there be danger" button, is colored (a rather rusty) red to once again let the user know that this is a serious action.

What could have made this UX even better

While there are many well-designed cues that should help the user understand the gravity of their decision, there's still the ever-so-slight chance that a user could gloss over both the descriptive copy and the "delete everything" text in the CTA.  So, what could have made this experience fail-proof?

Tumblr could require users to acknowledge the implications, one by one, of deleting their content—chat history, likes, etc—through checkboxes before deletion. Check out how InVision handles things when users delete a prototype in their tool:

this image show's invisions's delte test prototype modal

Is that overkill? Perhaps. But why not be safe?  After all, deletion is forever.