I have a web application which users fill out profile information, and then upload a series of files.
It basically looks like this:
Name: ____ Website: ___ Hobbies: ___ [save button] ------------------ Upload files File 1: _____ [upload button] File 2: _____ [upload button] File 3: _____ [upload button]
As you can see, I have a save button below the profile information. There is no need for an explicit save button for the file upload section, because file uploads are saved immediately.
I showed my site to a novice user and they were confused about what exactly the save button did. After uploading each file they would go back and save the page, which was unnecessary. Another test subject didn't see the save button at all, and never actually saved the form -- they thought it saved when they filled it in.
I could break these functions onto separate pages but I want it to be as simple as possible, which is why I chose to put it all on one. Are there any tried and true methods of solving this problem? Should I remove the save button and have it autosave every few seconds like Gmail does? Add more save buttons? Do I need to have them on separate pages -- and if so, any examples?