Danger is your Destiny: the UX design of scary choices

The game Destiny is all about collecting loot. It's so important that the developers introduced game mechanics for dismantling your loot to make room for more loot:
If you watch the video carefully, you'll see that the player is holding down the "Dismantle" button. It causes a progress bar to stretch across the bottom of the item window. When the bar reaches 100%, the item is dismantled forever.

This is a big deal. It can take weeks or even months for players to collect certain weapons and gear pieces — so-called "exotic loot."

The time it takes to confirm depends on the gravity of the underlying action. Run-of-the-mill gear pieces take about half a second to dismantle. With exotic gear, the most valuable items, the progress bar takes ~4 seconds to fill up.

I appreciate this UI choice as a player because...

  • It forces me to stop and think about what I'm doing
  • It feels more fun and fluid than clicking through a "Confirm" dialog.

Maybe I'm just impatient, but I find myself rapidly clicking through "Confirm" prompts to get on with my day:

Inspiration for the Web

Here's a rough prototype of a web-based version of Destiny's "Tap and hold to delete" feature. You can customize the duration of the action as well the messages:


Demo code is in this GitHub repo

Like any UI component, the appropriateness of the "Tap and Hold" button depends on the business problem it's meant to solve. I would hate it in cases when...

  • The decision isn't that important.
  • I need to delete things frequently.

In those cases, it would feel like an annoying, unnecessary guardrail.

Although it's not appropriate everywhere, I prefer Destiny's Hold to Delete button over the Confirm pattern I typically encounter on the Web. Holding for a second or two makes me consider the gravity of my choice, and it just feels more fun.