Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How many answers does a yes/no question have?

How many answers does a yes/no question have? I'm asking you because I had a painful experience with a web page that asked me if I wanted to cancel my changes and move on to the next page. (I had made a few edits and then changed my mind, clicked a button to go elsewhere.) I'd say there are two answers to that question: yes, and no. But what I got was a message box with three answers: Yes, No and Cancel. The choice of 'cancel' in this case was unfortunate. Here's what happened (I'm not making this up):
Computer: Do you want to go to the next page and cancel your edits?
Me: Cancel.
(Now I was focused on what I planned to do next, so I didn't really notice what hitting 'cancel' meant. The message box disappeared, to be replaced by ... the identical message box. I had canceled the question without answering it, you know.
Computer: Do you want to go to the next page and cancel your edits?
Me: Cancel.
The message box disappeared, to be replaced by ... the identical message box.
Computer: Do you want to go to the next page and cancel your edits?
Me: Cancel.
The message box disappeared, to be replaced by ... this is getting boring ....
Computer: Do you want to go to the next page and cancel your edits?
Me, coming to my senses: YES!
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