Here’s an example of “user abuse”, which has remained throughout several versions of Microsoft Outlook . What do you think clicking the check box will do? If I’m never asked again, what would Outlook do automatically in the future? Would it always send a receipt? Would it never send a receipt? Would it always do what I select now (Yes or No )?

Outlook Receipt Message Box

Always avoid this ambiguity in your applications.Would you like this type of message interrupting your flow? Would such a message cause you to avoid ever selecting the check box out of fear that you just told Outlook to always send a receipt for all future requests? You may certainly feel that if you change this default, you’d never be able to find the way to reverse your answer in the future, since Outlook options are so buried (a topic for a future article).

Always try to stand in your users’ shoes.You don’t want to be accused of “user abuse”I call this “user abuse”, and not just “user interface abuse”, because in the end, it’s how you treat your users that counts.

The easiest way to solve this is by changing the check box to read “Make my answer the default, and don’t ask me again.”

You may wonder why I don’t recommend adding multiple options.Quite simply, message boxes should be as unobtrusive as possible.Rarely, if ever, should a message box do more than ask a simple question.As a matter of fact, even the absence of a check box would be more acceptable than an ambiguous one like this.If it were easy to find the option to turn off receipts in general, it’s likely the Outlook developers would not have added this option to the message box at all.

Be kind to your users.