Take the 2-minute tour ×
User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In the latest editions of the Internet Explorer the file download dialog is arranged at the bottom of the window. I know many people not knowing where to find the corresponding "save" and "open" buttons after having clicked on a download link on a website. It seems to me that the small yellow stripe does not track enough attention. enter image description here

Is there any reason to put the dialog at the bottom? To me it looks more like a notification bar than a "proper" dialog box.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Downloading a file really doesn't need to be an obstructive action, so they've ditched the old dialog box. The old version was pretty obtrusive even though immediate action isn't strictly required:

enter image description here

Really you only need to take action after the file is downloaded, there's no pressure. Particularly when downloading multiple files, the old IE's dialog got very annoying very quickly. In fact it's still much more annoying than Firefox and Chrome's download system, which implicitly assumes you want to save files you download.

Chrome's download bar follows a similar path of least obstruction:

enter image description here

Here they've made a dropdown to use secondary actions and the file is "saved" by default (Firefox does this as well). I'm surprised IE didn't go this way, but they seem to have wanted to keep "cancel" an easily accessible option (it used to be the default action in fact), almost certainly for security reasons due to the notice IE8 gives you.

Windows' use of modal dialog boxes has drastically decreased since their "peak" which was probably around windows 95/98. Modal dialogs are quite disruptive so eliminating them when unnecessary is certainly a good design goal. The notification bar might be less noticeable the first time, but this is a browser; you quickly learn how common features act, and it's likely to be one of your most used applications, so ease of use long-term is preferable over help so in-your-face it gets annoying.

It looks like you're downloading a file. Would you like help?

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for the clippy line. –  TRiG Dec 2 '12 at 0:13

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.