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So I am redesigning a configuration page and I feel that our current flow is overcompensating for user error too much. Basically, when you want to make a change on a device there are four steps:

  1. Make the change (or multiple changes)
  2. Hit "Apply" (There are about 5 submenus each with multiple changes possible, each submenu has 1 apply button)
  3. Hit "Submit Changes"
  4. Look at list of changes you made, hit confirm.

enter image description here

The reasoning for step 3 + 4 was because we did not want to make too many calls to the server, so all the changes should be submitted at once. I suggested we remove step 2 (the apply button) so that the user can make 1 or multiple changes, hit "submit change" and preview their list before confirming their changes. I was told that the apply button will act as a safeguard to make sure the user is sure about their changes, but I figured step 4 takes care of that. Do you think having 2 safeguards (step 2 to make sure the you want to save the changes, step 4 to preview them all before actually making a request to the server to make those changes) is necessary? The user will be making multiple changes at once in the beginning, then most likely minimal changes once everything is set up.

Edit: I realize user testing here would provide the best evidence, but my company does not provide the resources necessary to user test. Best I can do is ask around my company, but most potential users are familiar with our ui/ux already

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  • I don't understsns the description in #2. Please elaborate. Showing an example form is ideal. Feb 9, 2023 at 1:22
  • @bloodyKnuckles I added an example, but basically step 2 adds changes you made on step 1 to the list that you see in step 4. Step 3 lets you preview that list. Step 4 lets you make a request to the server to actually push these changes into the back end. I want to get rid of step 2 since it seems redundant, but I've been met with pushback from developers because they want to account for user error/make sure the user is 100% confident in their selection. I think showing the list on step 4 is enough to prevent user error, but wanted another opinion.
    – Gene Lee
    Feb 9, 2023 at 1:55
  • @bloodyKnuckles So in the current design, if a user makes a change but doesn't hit "apply" before going to a different menu (ex. Guest Wifi), then that change doesn't save and will not show up on step 3+4. I think thats a huge ux error personally, but don't have much solid evidence to back that up.
    – Gene Lee
    Feb 9, 2023 at 1:59
  • Thanks---I think that cleared ot up for me. If I understand correctly, there's currently five steps, and the first one is "Select submenu.", "Main Wi-Fi" in your screenshot, then the other four steps you listed. That's an important distinction because steps 3 and 4 apply to the list of submenus. Feb 9, 2023 at 7:40
  • You wrote, "...we did not want to make too many calls to the server..." Why? I'm curious because, of course, actually "Apply[ing]" the changes in the submenus to the server would significantly simplify the UX. Feb 9, 2023 at 8:23

2 Answers 2

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"APPLY" and "SUBMIT CHANGES" are misleading. The changes are not actually applied until the Confirm button is clicked. And the changes are not actually submitted to the server until, again, the Confirm button is clicked.

"APPLY" is actually something like "SAVE FOR SUBMISSION". But that is stating the obvious, and therefore an unnecessary step.

"SUBMIT CHANGES" is actually "CONFIRM CHANGES...".

So by eliminating "APPLY" you have:

  1. Select submenu.
  2. Make Changes (one or more submenus).
  3. Open confirmation window by clicking "CONFIRM CHANGES...".
  4. Confirm changes.

(The ellipsis ... indicates clicking the button leads to the action, but is not performing the action, in this case CONFIRM.)

 

...we did not want to make too many calls to the server...

Ideally, when the users clicks the "APPLY" button apply the changes to the server. And pop up a temporary confirmation that includes an "UNDO" option.

And get rid of the "SUBMIT CHANGES" and "CONFIRM" steps.

  1. Select submenu.
  2. Make changes.
  3. Apply changes.

A streamlined UX may be of greater value than whatever the cost incurred by multiple trips to the server.

 

By the way, there's currently five steps, and the first one is "Select submenu." ("Main Wi-Fi" in your screenshot), then the other four steps you listed. That's an important distinction because steps 3 and 4 apply to the list of submenus.

5 steps

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  • I completely agree with what you said, however my requirement from my boss is that there needs to be one "submit" for multiple changes to limit the calls to the server. Unfortunately, the ux cannot be prioritized over cost issues and I can't change their mind about that. I am considering removing the apply button and keeping the "submit changes" and "submit" flow instead. I agree with your text change as well, the wording of these can be misleading
    – Gene Lee
    Feb 9, 2023 at 17:23
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When users change anything on any panel you can highlight/show the button to "submit changes", possibly also showing the number or changes they are submitting, something like "2 changes applied [submit]".

"2 changes" could be clickable and you can give the possibility to review the changes list. Basically step 5. is no more mandatory but requested by the user if necessary. If user make changes and close the page without "submitting" you show an alert to make sure he will loose the changes, giving the possibility to stay on the page.

If you want to avoid people from hitting the "submit" button each time they change a value you can work on flow and label. For example calling it "submit and exit" or "save and exit", so people will probably hit it only once, when finished. If you prefer you can still ask for confirmation (step 5.) explaining there that is better to do all the changes at once before submitting

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