The “Do you want to Exit" Pattern must Die!


Your users aren't dumb.

User Experience is an interesting field, It can be something inherited by what came before your product (Motorola StarTAC) or can be forced onto you by the platform you are building on top of (Material Design by Google, The dialog boxes on Android & iOS). Once in a while, a popular design spreads its wings everywhere (Pull to Refresh)

If one were to refer to the Jesse James Garrett Model of User Experience and apply it to the Mobile ecosystem: between the first & second planes, i.e that Strategy & Scope planes, you would assume that the user:

  • Expects the App to behave in a certain way, expecting consistency in the experience of the App and that of the entire platform.
  • Knows how the platform behaves and he would be more than capable of navigating the platform.

If you look at the Android platform, Design patterns have come (ActionBar) and gone (QuickActions via Long Press). Some have been great, others not so much. But as such, why a pattern grew to be absorbed by Android or was thrown out, depending on how well that design pattern worked in the real world, and more importantly, did it make the user's life simpler. Then someone somewhere decided to invent the “Press Back to exit pattern". Which still lives today

These are top apps using the pattern, in an attempt to, well I guess, to make sure the user does quit the App “by mistake".

Here is the problem

  • The user probably really wanted to quit your App. In which case, the additional back press is a pain.
  • You don't really maintain a consistency experience, give than the user can just press the Home button and you can't do anything about it.

This pattern does not really solve any purpose, especially one that can't be measured.

If you are a Product Manager using this pattern I will judge you as you don't know what you are doing, and are not depending on data. If you are a Business guy I will judge you for thinking your users are dumb. If you are a developer I will judge you because you don't know your own Platform well.

Long story short, this pattern needs to die!!

Photo credit: orangeacid / Foter / CC BY