User Experience – Unsubscribing a Newsletter

It never comes to my mind that even a newsletter unsubscribe function requires some user experience design. But recently, two colleagues left the company and their subscribed newsletters were all forwarded to me. Obviously, some of these newsletters overlapped with my own and I want to unsubscribe those. In addition, I want to unsubscribe some newsletters that do not relevant to me.

You know, every newsletter has an unsubscription link somewhere in the bottom of the newsletter. So in the past few weeks I tried many of these “unsubscription functions” and soon I found that there are at least four ways to unsubscribe a newsletter (!)

Click that unsubscription link and:

  1. It hops to anther site with an email address in the URL – the destination website simply unsubscribe the newsletter based on the email address in the link / URL and then greet you with a message – You’ve unsubscribed the newsletter.
  2. The link leads you to a site, you will need to answer some questions about why you wanna unsubscribe the newsletter. Later on, the web page unsubscribe the newsletter requested.
  3. The link leads you to a site like method 2, but you have to login with a proper password. Afterward, you still need to answer some questions about why you wanna unsubscribe the newsletter.
  4. The link simply pop up a mail client and ask you to send out an email from the original subscription email address, with an email subject line like “unsubscribe XXX newsletter”.

All methods work, if you are the subscriber … but what if I wanna unsubscribe emails like in my case ?

  • Method 4 doesn’t work for me, as I could not send out an email with the original subscriber’s email address.
  • Method 3 doesn’t work for me, as I don’t know my colleagues’ password.
  • Method 2 is ok, but I have to answer some stupid questions …
  • Method 1 is the best, simple and fast.

So web site designers / developers, please implement method 1. Others don’t work and not user friendly in some cases.

Author: Michael Yung

Michael possessed over 30 years of experience in Information Technology with focuses on complex application development, database technologies and IT strategy. He also spent the last 20 years in Internet technology, eCommerce development / operations, web usability, computer security and Public Key Infrastructure technologies.

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