We are developing a questionnaire for enterprise size company. Each staff member should periodically (annually, semi-annually) complete this questionnaire to reveal their compliance in various areas: Ethics, Financial Interests, Insurence etc.

The problem we are facing: The questionnaire consists of categories of questions. On the left-hand side, we have those. In the middle, there is a content area that displays the current question category (list of questions from a particular category). At the bottom, we have pinned navigation with following buttons: "Save", "Save and Continue", "Submit". Submit button technically is available ONLY when all the question categories are completed. But the designer decided to keep it anyway throughout all the steps. In my view, there's no need to display a button that is available only in the end when all the steps are completed.(questionnaire may take several days to complete)

I think we need "submit button" only when the user completes the steps. "Save" button for me also seems to be redundant since we have "save and continue" which is basically the next button. Also, do you guys think we need previous step button? I think we do, even though there is clickable nav pinned on the left (with the question categories)

Would appreciate if someone could provide related research

PS: Sorry about pic))enter image description here


You're correct.

When using a stepper or progress tracker, think of it as going up the stairs to (say) 4th floor. Reaching 1st, 2nd or 3rd floor doesn't accomplish the goal, only reaching 4th floor. Each intermediate floor is just a part of the whole goal

In the same way, your goal here is to have a questionnaire completed. Each step is intermediate, therefore, you do not need a submit button until you reach the last step (and it only activates once it is completed successfully, as you say). If you put it in the second step, the user may think that the task has been done and leave it, or wait for the system to give feedback on its status or whatever. Either way, confusing and random.

Here you have an article on Progress Trackers, but see this image, which is Material Design default:

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as you can see, there's no submit button. Only "Continue", because according to Material guidelines, you need to show PROGRESSION (which, if you add a submit button, is void automatically since it means END or CONCLUSION)


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  • Hello Devin! Thanks a lot for your answer! It's really informative and encouraging! – Марк Мищенко Oct 27 '18 at 20:13

In terms of navigation, step processes tend to follow a left-right approach with a clickable, persistent step-navigation with a counter in the top.

Apply Back/Next buttons which will map naturally to the left-right direction.

For Saving, I recommend you implement an autosave feature. Showing a loading wheel "saving..." whenever changes are and a checkmark "saved changes" after changes are saved. This will keep the user focused on the questions and not worrying about whether it was saved or not.

Submit should only appear in the last step. Always showing the button will make the user believe they can always submit, when it is not the case. They will either (1) wonder why the button is inactive and try to click around to see if any of their info is wrong, or (2) constantly think they are in the last step, when in reality many more steps are left.

This article gives examples of vertical progress trackers: https://uxplanet.org/progress-trackers-in-ux-design-4319cef1c600

  • Hey Nicolas! Thank you for reply! Autosave is a great idea. Some people worried about old school folks who's gonna look for the save button. Nonetheless, a still think it's unnecessary. Thanks again, that really helps! – Марк Мищенко Oct 27 '18 at 20:18

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