Yesterday I filled out two online forms and both involved opting out of receiving further correspondence. Both offered very different ways of doing it. One good. One bad.
First was the order form at Videk.co.uk *, which looked like this:
All very normal until you think about the "Please click to remove this request" bit. Now, maybe I take things too literally and am way too suspicious but this could mean one of two things to me. Most probably the ticked checkbox means you want the updates. They are just trying to help out by pointing out that you can un-tick it with a simple click. What if it means something else though? What if it reads as "Please check to remove this request"? So, a ticked box means you don't want updates! Very confusing.
Either way I no longer worry too much about these opt-outs as I don't really believe the company will adhere to them.
Later on yesterday I signed up for Blockbuster's rental by post ** program and had the following choice:
Now that I can understand. Maybe radio buttons are the best choice to make opt-out decisions easier for users to understand. The trouble with a checkbox is you have to make the labelling of it absolutely crystal clear. None of the "Please do not clear this box if you do not want us not to never contact you about our other business activities".
* My router died in the middle of Sunday night and I woke up yesterday to no network or internet connectivity. The timing couldn't have been worse. Luckily our friends round the corner have loaned me their router while I await delivery of a new one.
** As we lay in bed at night and Felix has his supper we like to watch DVDs on the laptop. At the moment we're working through the Sopranos and getting to the end of season 3 — the last one we own as a box set. Hopefully they'll have delivered the first disc of season 4 by then...