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Amanda Billark

Amanda Billark

Akendi Alumnus

The Experience of Unsubscribing

I don’t know about you, but I’m always finding my inbox crammed with email newsletters I don’t remember signing up for. A lot of times it’s from stores I’ve shopped at or websites I’ve used to make travel arrangements where I’ve given my email and at the same time unknowingly signed up for marketing emails.

While it doesn’t bother me all that much to get that first initial unexpected email, what really frustrates me is when companies make it difficult to unsubscribe. After a recent inbox purge I’ve collected several examples of how the unsubscribe can be done well and not so well.

Although we might not want to think about the day when your customers want to axe your newsletter from their inbox, it’s an important thing to design a positive experience if you want to leave things off on a good note and not cause further frustration.

What makes an enjoyable unsubscribing experience?

Let’s start with the positive end of the spectrum – the quick, easy and most enjoyable unsubscribe experience. What does that entail?

  • Make the unsubscribe link easy to find

For starters, make it easy to find where to unsubscribe in the email. Don’t bury the word unsubscribe it in body copy or in the footer, make sure it has enough visual contrast and different styling from any body or footer text. A great place for it is right at the bottom of the email, styled like a link as seen in the example below.


  • Unsubscribe in one click

Next, let the user achieve their goal of unsubscribing to your email as easily and painlessly as possible. The example below from Spotify shows a successful example of the one click unsubscribe.  Immediately after clicking the word “unsubscribe”, a confirmation popped up confirming I was unsubscribed– no need to input my email or fuss around with options. One click and I was done! Quick and painless.



What not to do when designing the unsubscribe experience

Don’t question my decision

The example below is something I see very often, an additional step wedged into the process questioning your decision to unsubscribe and attempting to convince you to not to. Typically jargon like “you’ll miss out” is used here BUT, when I’ve gotten as far as to hit “unsubscribe” already, my decision making is over. Please let me go already!

I do have to add however, that sometimes it IS good to provide a safety net for users who may accidentally hit the wrong button (i.e. when deleting something). However, when it comes to unsubscribing to unwanted marketing emails, I feel this approach is excessive.


Don’t give me options

When I don’t recall signing up for email marketing from your business in the first place, it’s kind of alarming to come across a page like this which shows all of the different types of marketing a company has you signed up for… “Whhhaaattt? There’s more?!”.  While the example below is a little more straightforward from a lot of examples I’ve seen out there, it’s still an added step causing unnecessary aggravation, confusion and wasted time.


Don’t ask for my email address

This is one of my biggest pet peeves when unsubscribing – the dreaded email verification. When a company sends me tons of emails already and I got to the unsubscribe page by clicking a link from one of these emails, I shouldn’t have to input my email address to complete the process. You know my email, you send me tons! Please don’t make me type it and drag out the process.


Don’t make it confusing

The example below is from what has to be one of the WORST unsubscribe processes I’ve been through. Not only was the link buried in the email footer and almost impossible to find, but then I had to enter my email, and then THIS (see below)! Have you ever had to uncheck a box to confirm something?! I have to admit it took me 3 tries to successfully unsubscribe to these emails, leaving me with a bad impression and the opinion that this company is sneaky.


Don’t send me an email to confirm

Everyone likes to have confirmation but there IS such a thing as overkill. Introducing the unsubscribe confirmation email – completely unnecessary and annoying. If I just unsubscribed from your email, I don’t want any more. Sending me another email to confirm completely defeats the purpose!


I hope you find these do’s and don’ts helpful when designing your next email marketing or newsletter. Do you have any pet-peeves when it comes to unsubscribing to unwanted emails? Please share in the comments below!

Amanda Billark

Amanda Billark

Akendi Alumnus


Thanks! I also don’t like it when I have unsubscribed and months later I receive information. I make it a habit of sending these unwanted emails to JUNK and I believe ??? Over time that will negatively affect the senders Google rating which I don’t think can be good for business either.

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About Akendi

Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.