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I have an application built for 1920 width screen. Stacked side by side there are forms that can be edited independently of editing the others, or user can edit all of them at once.

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Should I have multiple save buttons, so user would not have to get away from that specific part of the screen to save? Or just one - and in this case, what would be the best location?

We do not want to use auto-save.

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Are the forms saved independently or does any one save button save all changes period? –  Ben Brocka Sep 12 '12 at 19:59
    
The idea is to have a button that saves all that has been edited, and I believe LondonDrugs answered as where to position it. But if UX friendly, I would like to be able to save them separately as well. –  user17508 Sep 12 '12 at 20:32
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Save buttons, and other document related function are traditionally in the top left corner (not in the extreme, but left aligned with other buttons in a toolbar), and are above the content that it would be saving.

On the web however, many users expect the save button underneath your content, especially if scrolling is involved.

Benefits of Global Save button:

  • less intimidating (less cluttered), something to strongly consider - especially for non techy users.
  • more consistent, which improves ease of use

For global, you may want to add a "Save All" button, and the "Save" button only saves the currently focused item.

If you went with a global save button, it's vital that you have a visual indicator of which document is 'focused' and will be receiving the save command.

This route would also need a keyboard shortcut for saving, to reduce the need to move the mouse so far.

Benefits of individual save buttons

  • potentially less confusing (from a which item does this button save standpoint)
  • at 1920px wide, it would be much less mousing (however most productivity apps rely on keyboard shortcuts anyway)

THOUGHTS: If your forms are independent of the other things on the screen (and can appear in a different context at other times in the app cycle), then having it's own save button would make sense. If your forms are directly tied to things outside of the form and only show up in the context of the parent, then a global save button would make more sense.

Since this is a web application, If using individual save buttons, I would recommend you position them on the bottom of the form (like your mockup). If using global, I would position the button above the forms.

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London, this app will be used by employees only and we will provide training. I added a mockup. Still a bad idea to have multiple saves? This is a data entry app, and I am looking for speed/efficiency. –  user17508 Sep 12 '12 at 20:35
    
There is no right answer, most efficiency app users rely heavily on keyboard shortcuts. Your mockup does help understand. for one your app is in a web-browser, which changes design nuances as well (since you have your browsers tool bars/controls on the screen as well). Web apps, unlike desktop apps, typically put controls under content rather than above (largely because in the early days many web pages had to scroll a good ways down to get to the end and there wasn't an easy way to 'dock' buttons to the top while you scrolled, and because they don't class with the browser toolbars that way) –  LDMediaServices Sep 12 '12 at 20:50
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What if you kill off the save button completely and switch to autosave instead?

Do you have any inconsistencies then?

You could have individual Reset buttons perhaps, which goes back to the state it was when the form was opened.

Simply you start to save the first valid data, and update backend every 10 seconds or so, and make sure you save on close.

Just an idea of course, the notion of separate Save buttons depends if the sub-datafields have any individual meaning, eg. they're reachable through a different record or even independently as well.

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Aadaam, the team feels that an auto save could be a problem, because if we give a visual indicator that the information was saved as they go, it could be a distractor, as there are tons of forms to be filled. If we did not give an indicator, the employee would not feel comfortable enough. –  user17508 Sep 12 '12 at 22:13
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