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This desktop application has buttons that perform certain actions. Some of them require yes/no confirmation and some of them perform direct actions without any delay. The targeted user group are developers and power users.

What is the proper feedback to let the user know the action has been performed successfully?

  • None, they know what they're doing
  • Audio with configuration to turn it off (on or off by default?)
  • Spinning cursor displayed for 0.5 seconds, then back to default cursor
  • "Circle-visual", like the one you have when recording screen so the viewer knows when mouse-clicks are performed or "button glowing effect"

(Please know that I'm not familiar with the exact terms used by UX specialists)

The layout of the application can be compared to Visual Studio, i.e. a more plain UI without any eye-candy effects.

screenshot

  • When the action performs doesn't the user see something done? – Alvaro Jan 21 '17 at 8:46
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None, they know what they're doing

Absolutely not! Imagine talking to someone who doesn't respond in any way - you can't communicate at all. Same goes for your application. You must ensure that there is always some feedback for user actions.

Audio with configuration to turn it off (on or off by default?)

This would strongly depend on the type of environment where your application will be used. If it is used by individuals at home, you may give some pings and pongs, but not if the app is used in an office, as it will tend to distract others.

Also, audio feedback is very limited in its capacity to convey information. You can have a soft ping to indicate success and a high-pitched one to indicate error. But that's all you can do. You cannot try to have a text processing engine speak out the error or success messages. (And maybe you should not!)

Spinning cursor displayed for 0.5 seconds, then back to default cursor

Probably not. Because the fact that the circle has stopped spinning is not indicative of success or failure of an operation. As I mentioned earlier, you should attempt to be conversational with the user.

"Circle-visual", like the one you have when recording screen so the viewer knows when mouse-clicks are performed or "button glowing effect"

Not sure what you are talking about.

The layout of the application can be compared to Visual Studio, i.e. a more plain UI without any eye-candy effects.

Since you mention Visual Studio, I would emphasize the requirement of clear messages. VS has two modes of feedback, one via text in the status bar, and another via extensive logs in the output window. If you remove either, the development experience would significantly degrade. This is something you must keep in mind while designing the app.

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  • I didn't even think of an "output window" yet. This could be considerable. It will even give opportunity to print out paths, etc. And you're right, at the office, people will not have sounds turned on or else it will disturb. Audio feedback being out-dated, after thinking about it, yes. I only saw this in very old applications. That's very much clearance and enough to consider while building the app. Thanks! – bytecode77 Jan 21 '17 at 15:58
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This strongly depend on the kind of action the button executes. In your example I know different solutions:

  • There is a text beside the button "all changes are saved" or "not all changes are saved"
  • In my text editor the document title got an Asterix (*) behind the title of the document to give a hint on unsaved changes
  • A small progress bar beside the button which indicates the "process". Thats more or less similar to a changed cursor icon
  • A dialogue system. If the user answer the question or hit a task the window/popup/section disappear or fade out. This is in my perception a clear way to show the success of my input
  • The most intuitive thing (and due to the widget/push notification thing) is a short popup (top center, right top or bottom right) with a message

Audio: In my personal opinion this is not state-of-the-art. especially if you can turn them of. Audio notifications are an instrument to get the users attention - not to confirm his actions.

My personal suggestions: Dialogue systems (e.g. for wizards etc) and small notification popups for buttons (e.g. save -> "Your document has been saved")

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