I've made a script/software of sorts that is used to analyse test results of our patients.

Currently, to save your results, you have to enter 27, which was due to me having a brilliant idea at the time and decided it would be wise to have it so it's auto defined from the number of tests in the software. So, 26 tests, 26+1=27.

I'm trying to get it to standards, as I'm adding the ability to define custom tests. And such, the number shifting across devices won't do.

What's a good shorthand for a save command? Possible options I came up with so far: "-s" "s" "sav" "save" "se" (save and exit)

I don't think one letter command would be viable as it's easy to mistype and prematurely save and exit the program.

I'm leaning towards "se" since it's short, requires two letters and yet could be typed with one hand.

  • 2
    Vi uses wq for write and quit. Maybe that?
    – Marie
    Aug 27, 2018 at 17:46
  • Hi and welcome to UX.SE. One question: why do you think people will mistype a full command yet you think 1 or 2 characters combinations are better? I think these options are way more likely to be mistyped than (say) "save"
    – Devin
    Aug 27, 2018 at 17:56
  • @Devin Thank you. Oh, I don't think that at all. Opposite, in fact. People will mistype shorter commands compared to longer ones. Like you said. But it's about ease of use vs possibility of failure in this case. Typing "save" every time they're done might get irritating. Especially when you factor in hunt and peck typers that can be commonly found in a psych office(in my experience). But obvious counter argument is, how much room for error should you have in a scientific tool? Probably next to none. Edit: Also I'm aware that for a 10 finger typer, save is also a one hand word. Aug 27, 2018 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


You could use a couple of prompts instead of one. Assuming these keys wouldn't be used in other parts of the software.

For example:

>> s
<< Would you like to save? [y/n]
>> y
<< Saving and exiting.

Generally single keys are easier to remember than commands like 'se' which may not be intuitive to the user.

  • This, but with q for quit
    – user109724
    Aug 27, 2018 at 20:31
  • 1
    The response of people like my dad to the prompt "Would you like to save? [y/n]" would be: "No, stupid program, I told you to quit, not to save!" – followed by an all-too literal n key press.
    – Schmuddi
    Aug 28, 2018 at 12:14
  • Takes note to ensure this never happens. I'll probably implement this (s followed by a y/n) in the end and reimplement my "exit" command handler(and disable the forbidden fruit [X] on the top right so people don't mess up their files. Well, it just doesn't create the patient files, so they should notice) . Also probably won't go amiss to print a commands reminder message when an unknown command is entered. Aug 28, 2018 at 15:52

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