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306

The floppy disk icon is an idiom, not a metaphor. It doesn't matter that we're no longer writing files on 1.44MB 3.5" disks. It doesn't matter that many users don't even know what a floppy disk is. What matters is that users associate the icon with saving.


116

In About Face 2.0 (there is a v3 but I haven't got it) Cooper and Reimann (2003, pp. 341-2) treat this subject under the heading "Flip-flop buttons: A selection idiom to avoid". I strongly suggest to consult this book as I will only present an excerpt: Flip-flop button controls are very efficient. They save space by controlling two mutually exclusive ...


97

Short Answer: Quite a late answer, but I'm surprised no one here pointed this out before -- it is possible for a toggle switch to show its current state and the state to which it will change simply by having text outside the button, instead of on it. Long Answer: As dotancohen points out above, The problem is that in English "on" and "off" are both ...


67

In Marketo, the app auto-saves everything. We have very few "Save" actions. However, interesting side-effect. In the email editor, some users were so panicked that there was no "Save and close" button, that we added one. It's already saved so the button only closes the window, but it made the complaints go away. We have generous feedback saying the ...


66

I found an article that explains this. Apparently, in Argentina, ATMs give cash before the card, resulting in a large amount of people leaving their cards behind. See http://uxmovement.com/thinking/preventing-user-errors-in-automated-teller-machines/ - unfortunately there are no references cited so I'm unsure how true this is. To me, however, it would make ...


64

This question gets brought up every so often. I've found two separate threads (several years apart) on the IxDA list: http://www.ixda.org/node/19443 http://www.ixda.org/node/23688 I thought it was discussed on UXExchange as well, but I couldn't find it. In my opinion (and it seems to be the general consensus), the icon is ubiquitous with saving. Changing ...


44

Although the technical objections are largely obsolete, I think there is still a UX-based objection to auto-save. Other answers have alluded to the relationship between versioning and auto-save. @sova talks about them as alternatives, but I believe they are essential complements. Without versioning (or at least persistent, traditional undo), auto-save has ...


43

It's a balancing act... you want the option to add promo codes available to those who need it, but to not have it on the radar for those who don't. Here are some hard statistics on the effect of coupon codes on cart abandonment: In one usability test, removing the coupon code field increased overall conversion from 3.8% to 5.1% (an increase of 34%). In ...


39

It's partly historical - when saving meant sending data back to the server it was an expensive operation, and when it meant overwriting what you already had without the chance to roll back it needed to be under the user's control. However, now with either data saved locally or with high bandwidth connections there isn't the overhead in saving. Version ...


34

You have to go with the first option (stating that the "username or password is invalid"), and this has nothing to do with security. Let's say that I usually use JohnGB as my username, but on your service someone else has that username, so I use JohnGB123 instead. Say I've then forgotten my username and I enter JohnGB as my username, but use my correct ...


26

I have two problems with auto-saving. First, inadvertent editing (mistakes): If a user brings up a document for viewing and makes a mistake, the auto-save would overwrite the good copy with the invalid data, and require the user to take additional actions to undo the mistake. We have a data entry system that was designed with auto-save, and I can't ...


22

This is also discussed on Graphic Design where there are some good (and some bad) proposals for alternative save icons: New generation of Save icon that is not a “disk”? Many icons represented how things looked like in the old days, and the looks of things (generally) were more consistent before. Now all things have modern designs, and does not necessary ...


22

Unfortunately there aren't many real references to help answer this question. UXMovement has an article which Tass references in their answer, which makes some good points about the task flow of using ATMs. In summary: Users follow the tasks in sequence, but regard the task as completed once they have achieved their goal. Subsidiary steps are easy to ...


21

mailto: links are still the standard way to display e-mail addresses, largely because it's the only way to link to e-mail addresses. Webmail clients generally require a toolbar or plugin to become the default application handler for mailto: links, but it's still better to have the link than to not have it: for people who don't have their webmail service set ...


21

In this situation, I would not use a drop down until you need to. Using a drop down with one option will be annoying to some degree because people will click on it and expect more choices but not find any. Also, people will be trained to not click on that drop down because its 'useless'. You'll have to somehow retrain them to look for the new options ...


19

I think you've got it pretty much right in your question. If the toggle is an action - Play/Pause - then it should show the thing that will happen. So while paused it would show Play and then while playing show Pause. If the toggle is an option - Shuffle/Linear - then it should show the current state. How you indicate that to the user that one button is ...


19

I have no idea as to the actual correct answer to this question, but let me speculate: I think it's because the web has hyperlinks. Clicking on something on a web site is associated with visiting a different page, and as such, if you were to create a dropdown menu that activates on click, the expectation of what it may do when activated is uncertain: will it ...


19

This might be another of those things like the floppy disk being used to represent "Save". What it represents has long since evolved away from the initial coining of the expression - there have been discussions on Meta Stack Overflow about the naming and use of FAQ on these websites - but it's what people expect to find and will go looking for if necessary. ...


18

I'm surprised to see no mention of the technique used in iOS (and elsewhere), a combined action/state button, where both options are visible, grouped and the active one is clearly highlighted. Terrible ascii art to demonstrate: [ ON | off ]


18

I think of this more as a mental model issue. Imagine if there was no mouse, but rather you were doing it with your hand. Most people are right-handed. My mental model is that I am moving the scrollbar with my right hand. Therefore, scrollbar on the left would indicate that my arm is moving across (in front of) the content and blocking my vision so I can ...


18

The idea behind masking is that someone may be watching your screen (from behind you). (Couldn't find an existing answer with this, even though I am sure I saw it here once, the is the closet I found is Ben Brocka's answer here.) You could let the users elect to unmask or use the same trick used in mobile phones (temporarily unmasking the last character). ...


17

There is no reason you cannot relabel FAQ. Contrary to belief, most popular websites refrain from using the term altogether. For example, Twitter labels their FAQ section "help", as does both Facebook and Google. If you want to relabel FAQ, go with either help or support. Both translate worldwide and the meanings are easier to conceptualize than FAQ.


16

Alan Cooper and friends have a lot to say about always saving, always allowing undo when applicable/possible. If you haven't read it already, you should definitely check out About Face. The first thing to say when considering the best user interaction scenario is that software should always auto-save. Even here on SE my draft is auto saving as I type. ...


16

This exact questioned is actually answered! This questioned is an example of a Forcing Function described in the book Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman Forcing Function Defined Forcing functions are a form of physical constraint: situations in which the actions are constrained so that failure at one stage prevents the next step from ...


15

I would say that it depends on the case, as ChrisF said, it's important to have a distinction between an action button and a state button. If your button has text, you could change the text to show that clicking it will do something (ex: "Turn shuffle play on"). However, in your case, since it's only an icon, I would go with only a shuffle icon that looks ...


15

The GNOME desktop on Linux/Unix moved away from the floppy disk icon quite a while ago, and nobody seemed to mind... you can see what they use instead in this screenshot from 2008 (on the "Apri" and "Salva" icons):


14

You will need to be consistent with the platform for the simple reason that certain app stores like that of Microsoft will not even allow your app to be published if it doesn't follow the Metro UI guidelines. That said, another reason for making it platform-consistent is that people expect apps to behave in a certain way in certain platforms and have ...


14

This is the most compact and intuitive way to present an indefinite progress. The key word is indefinite. source I can hardly imagine an indefinite linear solution. For example, a common progress bar in indeterminate mode looks a bit unclear: source BTW, circle is a very useful shape (just want to make your day better :) Round-robin - The ...


13

I'd stop just short of "don't use them." I'd suggest toggle buttons are acceptable in the case where there is a clear on and off state. This can occur, for instance, when you have a line of grayed buttons that become colored when you click them. This is the reason Play/Pause works in many cases. The play button is not so much a toggle between two states as ...


13

I'm going to give some advice from a Security standpoint + UX. I wouldn't sacrifice either one for the other. Have both. There's an important question of secure practices in your question. The Best Practice from a security standpoint is to not identify which entry was invalid, and have a generic answer. Let's ask What Would Google Do and take Google's ...



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