Radio Buttons Better For Opt-Out Decisions

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...


    • avatar
    • ursus
    • Tue 9 Jan 2007 05:50 AM

    funny that - we are also currently watching the Sopranos and are at the end of Season 2 - not having watched it before (we had/have it here in German but I don't like watching dubbed movies) I must say I really like it.


    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Tue 9 Jan 2007 06:04 AM

    Addictive isn't it!

  1. Another great example of what is wrong with so many sites.

    After my son was born, my wife and I rented the seasons of "24" that we missed.

    What is it about having a newborn that makes you want to catch-up on tv you missed?

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Tue 9 Jan 2007 07:11 AM

    I think it's because you've got so much time on your hands whereby you're house-bound.

  2. On the subject of HBO shows, you should check out Deadwood if you haven't already....so good.

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Tue 9 Jan 2007 10:04 AM

    Is that the one with Ian McShane in it?

  3. I second your opinion, that labels should be crystal clear (for any input element). And having single, double or triple negations in sentences surly is not clear. However Checkboxes are made for Yes/No decisions, so for the sake of clarity we should keep them. Of course the label must result in a clear yes/no thought. Something like:

    I'm happy for Blockbuster to contact me:

    [] via eMail

    [] through the post

    (where POST is ambiguous, at least for a blogger <g>).

    Of course full clarity would be:

    (o) I'm happy for Blockbuster to contact me:

    ... [] via eMail

    ... [] through the post

    ( ) Please don't contact me.

    Just my 2c

    • avatar
    • Mike
    • Tue 9 Jan 2007 10:37 AM

    Wow .. great to see The Sopranos catching on over there. Another recommendation from HBO if you haven't seen it - The Wire. Incredible show and there is 3 seasons worth of DVDs to watch. The fourth season just wrapped on HBO a few weeks ago.

    I actually just got done watching Life on Mars myself.

    -- Mike

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Tue 9 Jan 2007 10:52 AM

    Mike. Sopranos is all but over over here. The last season didn't really make it on to the main channels, unless I'm mistaken.

    It was massive years ago and I've owned the box sets for years now. Long enough for me to have forgotten enough of what happened to warrant a re-run.

    • avatar
    • Charlie Phillips
    • Tue 9 Jan 2007 11:11 AM


    Yes, Ian McShane (a great British actor) is the main star of Deadwood. I have the first two seasons and they are so addictive I was watching four episodes per night! :-)


    Great site.

    • avatar
    • Mike
    • Tue 9 Jan 2007 11:11 AM

    The last of the Sopranos episodes run starting this April on HBO. I'm not quite sure why, but the upcoming episodes are being considered part of the previous season - even though they are running a year later. For my money, Seasons 1 and 5 are the best.

  4. Not much to add to the radio buttons issue.

    It seems I have a fetish for TV shows starting with the letter S: Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Simpsons, South Park, Shorties Watchin' Shorties.

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