That Cancel Link Ought To Do Something, Boy

If you’ve got a control on a subform, you really ought to make it do something, even if it’s a link.

Take, for instance, the little Add an Application subforms available on the home page of LinkedIn.com (note you have to be signed in to see them in the right sidebar).  To get this subform, you mouse over the Add an Application link and then select a subform type, such as the jobs form:

You may not cancel.

Suppose you change your mind and don’t want to add this “application” to your sidebar.  What do you do then?  Click Cancel?

Hah!  Fool!  You do not; apparently, LinkedIn GUI wizards expect you to click the X to close the application which you have not yet added.

What they’ve done is gone cheap and made the Add form look exactly like the Edit form because it’s easier that way.  Instead of altering the behavior of the Cancel link to make it behave like the Close button during the edit operation, they have just made it do nothing.

Poor form, Peter; you should never offer controls that do nothing, and especially you should not do it because you’re too lazy to write a little bit of branching logic.

Also, I might add that allowing users to open more than one Edit/Add form at one time is sort of, well, dumb.  I’ve seen this behavior in applications I’ve had to test, and sometimes instead of an AJAX subform, the application refreshes the page entirely, which either abandons or saves changes in the other subforms (where the user did not click Save) according to the developer’s behavioral preference (or accident, but I repeat myself).  Crikey, how about expecting the user to make one change at a time and guiding him or her to do it in a logical fashion?

Nah, let’s go willy-nilly and get it out the door on time so we can get in line for Halo VIII.

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