I'm working on a SaaS product for 4 years and am going through a phase of re-evaluating my old decisions. One of them is the following rule:
When the user is leaving a complex form, and at least one field is different from default, we are showing a confirmation modal dialog to have them explicitly discard the changes.
My motivation is: saas products are complex, business logic often requires specific controls to be available at all times (e.g. critical notifications). User can leave the form unintentionally (click somewhere they did not mean to click). Dismissing the form in such case without asking means their changes will be discarded.
Even if user clicks on Exit button, I'm still showing a dialog that has 'continue editing' and 'discard changes' options.
To me it's reminiscent of software I use – design, video editing, audio. If I made at least one change, when closing the file I will be asked if I want to save it.
It's worth to note our forms are dealing with inherently complex business logic (cloud tech, infra) and some configurations can take users good 5-10 minutes to finish.
As I am writing this I am still confident that all of the above reasoning still holds true for me personally, and the only downside of showing the confirmation is the possibility that the user will be annoyed if they see it too much.
But then, my confidence is swayed by the fact that other SaaS platforms do NOT show any confirmation and seem to be OK with loss of input. Their UI reveals even MORE external controls, like navigation, that can easily cause user leaving the form and loosing all data.
These platforms are: Google Adwords, Meta Business Suit, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Google Firebase, Amazon Web Services, Cloudflare, Imperva Cloud Security, and a few smaller platforms I have explored from the industry.
And I just don't get WHY. I try to understand a motivation there, but simply cannot, so I've decided to ask a question here. What could be the motivation to NOT show any confirmation and allow loss of input in a complex SaaS form?