Jimmy Guterman's blog

media, technology, management, and the rest of it

Most confusing online form of the day, this time courtesy of Interop (an ongoing series)

with 3 comments

As we’re preparing the fall relaunch of the MIT Sloan Management Review website, we’re thinking hard about how to make things easier for people trying to get around our site. (Indeed, I have a document on that very topic due for my boss tomorrow.) We’ve been looking closely at forms on other websites and I just came across this doozy:
This is as hostile a web form as I’ve seen lately. Checking the box unsubscribes you, except when it doesn’t … because there are two ways to unsubscribe. The sentence right above the “unsubscribe” button was written by someone who either (1) didn’t like English class in high school and still carries a grudge or (2) has been instructed to make the unsubscribe so confusing that plenty of people will stay on the list by accident.

But why should there be a form at all? Even better, as my colleague (and Wordle enthusiast) Sean Brown points out, wouldn’t it be better, when someone clicks on an “unsubscribe” link in an email, for that person to arrive at a page simply confirming that he or she has been unsubscribed? Do what your customer wants and get out of the way.

Written by guterman

August 19, 2008 at 9:15 am

Posted in web 2.0, work

3 Responses

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  1. The image has a _really large background_ and is pushing the text down. Take a look at this to see the problem:

    And use this one if you want, its a cropped version that won’t push everything around on the page:


    August 19, 2008 at 6:53 pm

  2. Thanks for the fix, Sean, and I hope fixing my technical mistakes doesn’t become a regular part of your job.


    August 20, 2008 at 9:31 am

  3. How about this one (http://tinyurl.com/63sw3e), not as bad as the INTEROP example, but this SmitMicro’s “unsubscribe” is pulling double (triple) duty as a preference setting UI and an unsubscribe UI. Pepople, please:

    When you include an “unsubscribe” link in an email newsletter footer, do not design the landing page like this (SmithMicro or INTEROP). A simple confirmation that you’ve been unsubscribed is all that is necessary.

    If you feel you must, you can include a link on the landing page for people who might. “Change your mind?”


    August 20, 2008 at 10:51 am

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