The company that I work for is suggesting that we override browser shortcut CTRL + S in our single page app to apply changes (save). It's a complex editor so autosave would not work for this particular instance, and since it's used for data entry keyboard shortcuts are a must have.

I have searched all over, including this site, and keep finding conflicting reports. There are plenty of articles that say it's a bad idea, but then I see big names like Jira, Docusign, Prezi, all using CTRL + S to save.

It seems like a bad idea to me, but I would like to hear your thoughts before going toe-to-toe with the higher ups.

  • I would never open the website ever again :) – Yates Jul 6 '18 at 16:13
  • @ThomasYates At least elaborate why? – user68158 Jul 6 '18 at 17:31

Assuming your question is only about CTRL+S here is my thoughts:

The shortcut CTRL + S is learned by a lot of users working in applications. So a user would expect the CTRL + S to work in any application, even if the application resides in the browser. Thinking about how many times a user of your application want's to save the content of the application against to save the webpage i suppose it is 99.9% of the times that users want to save the applications content. Therefore my recommendation is: override the browser shortcut.

As you stated a lot of browser apps do the same. I would like to ad Google Docs to your list. They override CTRL+S even though Google Docs is autosaving.


This is one of those "It depends" moments that crop up a lot in UX.

The problem is that you're removing an expected behaviour from the browser.

This is strictly my opinion so you might want to go and test/research for yourself but I would suggest that, as long as the new behaviour is contextually expected and not wildly different from the original expected behaviour, you should be OK.

In your case, for instance, you are replacing a "Save Page" feature with a "Save Page State" feature which you could argue is almost the same thing.

As with most of these things (and as I suggested earlier), it would be best to test your proposed solution to see a) if your users want/use it and b) if they feel they feel that the original feature for that shortcut would have more value or form a more useful part of their workflow.

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