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70

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 ...


48

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 ...


48

On clicking the save button in almost any application for the first time, you are asked where to save the file. If your application does not do this, it would be understandable that people are unsure as to whether it has worked or not. My advice would be to grey out the icon and replace the icon with a spinner while the save operation is taking place. Even ...


41

If I understand you correctly, you have a window that automatically saves changes for the user as they adjust items. Currently you have a button that say "Close" on this window. Your clients are requesting you to rename this to "Save and Exit". But since the save action has already happened while they're making the changes, the button really just closes the ...


40

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 ...


39

It depends on your application structure, but in general tabs are precisely made to have more than one opened at a time. Therefore, it would be pretty annoying to always notify the user when he switches tabs. A common solution would be to keep the status of each tab and display a "modified" indicator inside the tab headline. E.g. in IntelliJ a modified ...


38

A save button should always save everything. Accidental data loss is about the worst thing that can happen to users. This is why many applications (e.g., GMail) don't even have save buttons; they just auto-save everything. If technically feasible, auto-saving is an even better solution (as long as there is an effective undo). Note: when auto-saving, it is ...


33

Export is often used for file formats which don't support saving your current editing status. Word let's you save .doc, .docx, .odt and so on, but only export .pdf, .html and similar. Same with gimp: You can save .xcf, but only export .jpg, .png and the same. The reason for this is that with any other file format than .xcf gimp loses data like layers which ...


27

As you've stated, it's important that the user is provided with feedback about the success / failure of the save operation. One way that some business applications achieve this is by disabling the save button when the most recent version of a file has been safely saved to disk. User clicks save. File is saved. Button is dimmed / non-clickable -> this ...


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 ...


23

The system should help the user but should not restrict the user. If the user indeed wants to search something, the user should be able to. Warning the user that this will result in losing information and afterwards giving the user the opportunity to copy his or her work (or maybe saving a concept version of it for later review?) should then be the best ...


22

Google does this quite a bit actually. They have auto-save functionality in Google Docs, Gmail, and Blogger. In each case the app automatically saves your content and provides a little note somewhere that says something like, "Your draft was saved at 3:04 PM." But they also have a "Save" button. I liked their approach so much that I copied it almost ...


22

To "star" something is a very abstract concept hardly familiar outside Gmail. While people save things for later all the time, they hardly ever "star" something. While the star as an icon is fine, it doesn't translate well to a verb or action. Marking things for later reference is commonly offered through either "bookmarks" or "favorites". Here, favorite is ...


18

Why would you want something more contemporary which users don't understand? What are you improving about their experience by doing this? Don't use something different just to be cool or clever. All you would be doing is illustrating that good graphic design is not the same as good UX design.


17

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. ...


17

If the button is merely disabled, users will Think the application is broken, Not immediately realize which fields are unfilled and Not realize the fields are unfilled until the very end, which is annoying So, I'd suggest telling your colleagues exactly what you told us, which is that allowing them to submit then find errors might be more efficient ...


16

Even though [cancel] would not actually clear or cancel any concrete data, in the user's mind it confirms, that none of the values he changed in the dialog will be saved/applied. The [x] should generally always be there, it works as some sort of "way out" for the user, it gives the option to skip the choice and intuitively get out of the situation (for ...


15

I think the word "Save" is in the same category as the floppy disk icon itself. I don't think your analogy of comparing "Save" to "Post your Question/Answer" here on Stack Exchange is valid, "Post" means "Publish to the website", whereas "Save" would mean "keep a copy until I'm read to publish". In fact this is probably the meaning most people have in mind ...


15

Depends on how you are approaching the concept. I can call it a WATCHLIST. What exactly do you want the user to do. Create a list of jobs so that they can visit again and check them. Yes it works same as a favorite but the term doesn't suits the purpose of job searching. A person cannot have a favorite job post. I will rather have 2 options for the user. ...


14

A "save" function should be expected to yield a file which, if opened later in the editor, will yield one that precisely matches what was saved. An "export" function is appropriate in cases where the file will be target format's best representation of the data, but the target format may not necessarily be capable of holding all of the information in the ...


13

The save button has become the Skinner Box button for a great deal of people thanks to terrible, terrible software that never autosaved people's work for a good 20 years of popular software. I don't like to keep training people to hit that button, but there's nothing more aggravating than finding your app didn't just save what you did. I found Google Doc's ...


12

Well, since you're new to UX, you should probably learn one thing first and that is that IT DEPENDS :) If it's something I'm going to use a lot and you can automate it for me: yes please. I might feel smart the first time I set up a wi-fi connection, and it might make me feel in control of what my computer does for me, but it's going to be a major pain in ...


11

Every one talks about it from a document point of view. Your question states "should everyone start adopting the convention of auto-saving?" I have to agree with others that if you don't offer versionning, it's useless. To me, being a photographer, autosave alone would be the worst feature to have ever existed. We sometime spend hours "destroying" a ...


11

Here's what is rapidly becoming the new replacement save icon: That's assuming it's needed at all of course. For example, it's used by Google Docs here - although they've added text as well in this case:


11

You need to be consistent. Changing what people expect from your application confusing and not a good idea. If you are saving automatically in one section, why not do it in all of them? If there is a good reason to have the save button(s), then why not have them on all the settings pages? Many applications break up settings pages to logical groupings ...


11

You pretty much want to go for one or the other extreme, where the extremes are: Explicit Save for Everything. Everything needs saving through an explicit command. Autosave Everything. Everything is saved automatically and instantly. You want the user to have as simple a mental model of the system’s behavior as possible. You don’t want to burden the ...


11

Adding a Save button to your auto-saving window would be a bad idea. It would suggest to the user that closing the window without pushing Save would revert the changes — which would be wrong, and highly misleading. Then remains the fact that the users are worried that their changes could be lost. You should add a discreet message saying "Saved" when ...


9

In an app I created some 10 years ago, disabling is the approach I took. Each form has a Save, Cancel and Close button. Save and Cancel are both disabled until changes have been made. Close is always available and will prompt to save or cancel when changes were made. At the time I thought it was the right way to do things. Now, every time I open an edit ...


9

There's a good reason why this is uncommon (I'd say non-existant): Consider this: download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups What happens when you press 2? Do you get 2? Or do you get 12? The obvious answer is that you get 2, because the affordance of a button or a menu item is an individual action trigger. Here's ...


8

If the submit button is disabled, you definitely have to tell the user why this is so. So why not display a short message telling the cause for the disabled button when this is the case? This short message could be shown under the form - maybe in red or highlighted in another way. And then this approach provides the better user experience in my opinion. ...



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