I'm building an app that allows users to take small self-assessments (more or less a quiz). The app doesn't require login credentials or a signup, as user progress is auto-saved (almost instantaneously) in local storage.

Currently the app will display a live point counter in the upper right that updates whenever a user creates/updates an answer.


During some initial user testing some users were concerned about whether or not the app was saving their work. How do I remedy this?

The site is still very much in beta, but here's a link so you can check it out first hand.


Edit (Jan 20, 17): Implemented a lot of the advice here including adding a saving indicator and changing some of the copy. Thank you all for the guidance



4 Answers 4


Auto-save pattern work well when there is a fear of losing a lot of work

Often the issue of not knowing if your changes are saved is linked with the fear of losing you have invested a lot of time in. This aspect is addressed by always giving a confirmation that the work is saved. See Slack and Google docs for a good implementation of this pattern.

Maybe your users are more concerned about how their work is saved

However, the task related to your web page does not seem to involve so much time or efforts. If we assume this to be true, then your users are maybe not concerned about loosing their work, but more about how it is saved by the system. It's another problem and I would recommend testing again with a modified version clearly stating that the save is local. You will then be able to confirm/infirm this assumption.


I have this issue at work. We auto save user entries (depending upon the app of course) and users had the same concern. "How do I save?" "How do I know if my work has been saved?" What's been user tested to work well is to have a spinning icon along with a "Your Work Has Been Saved" label to periodically appear.

@Alvaro mentioned your two primary options. We tested with a Save Button and the users liked that. We then said we "upgraded" to auto-saving and they liked that even better.


I would not describe the assessment's points as "total points". I can easily see that my progress within a single page is being saved. But I also wondered whether my progress on an individual assessment was saved when I navigated to another page because "total points" reset to zero. Total sounds like the total of all of the assessments.

Consider renaming "total points" to "assessment points" as well as displaying overall site progress.

Many course sites I have used show which lesson you are in as well as your progress within a particular section. Consider displaying how many other assessments there are in that section and whether the user has completed them. You are already displaying the number of assessments in a particular section on the home page.


some users were concerned about whether or not the app was saving their work. How do I remedy this?

Let users know that the App is saving their progress or let them save it:

  • Add a Save button, even if it doesn't really do anything technically (as the data is saving anyway and there is no technical need for them to explicitly save). The action should be accompanied with a success message like the one in the next point (thanks for the comments to this answer).

  • Add a "Progress saved" message, every step in the process.

  • I would strongly agree with showing the "Progress saved" message over adding a useless button. If a save button exists without feedback that the system handles saving, then users might feel they're responsible for saving their own work. I can imagine a user closing the app and worrying that they didn't save before they closed and just lost all of their progress. With your second option, the user has feedback that the system is handling it all for them. A possible third option would be to have both of these options so a user can explicitly trigger an additional call to save if they'd like. Jan 17, 2017 at 21:59
  • 1
    I don't think that displaying a save button just to make users click on it is a good design. When users click it they will expect success message. You can skip 1 interaction and just show them the feedback message without making them click it. Jan 18, 2017 at 9:22
  • @KristiyanLukanov I didn't mean the click will not have any success message, "it doesn't do anything" I tried to say "technically/in the background". But thanks for pointing it out, I didn't express it correctly so I'll correct that :)
    – Alvaro
    Jan 18, 2017 at 9:24
  • @Alvaro The important thing is to iterate ;) Jan 18, 2017 at 10:00
  • Another pattern I've seen: Balsamiq Mockups has an autosave feature that is enabled by default. They still have a save button, but clicking it just shows some feedback text that reads "All changes autosaved." Jan 30, 2017 at 17:19

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