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I want to provide a user of a web application some confirmation message like:

The task "foobar" has been successfully updated.

Now, in term of usability, if the update consists in changing task’s name from "foobar" to "dummy", what should I display to the user and why:

  1. The task "foobar" has been successfully updated.
  2. The task "dummy" has been successfully updated.
  3. something else
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  • Maybe something that even person who doesn't understand English could understand. "foobar" => "dummy" Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 14:52
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    @lukas So 'foobar' is greater than or equal to 'dummy'? :)
    – JohnGB
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 17:14
  • 2
    "The task formerly known as ..." :) Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 17:47

3 Answers 3

57

Let them know what has happened. Here are some situations with longer, clear example notifications that use proper English grammar:

  • Only the name changed

    The task "foobar" has been successfully renamed to "dummy".

  • Only the data changed

    The task "foobar" has been successfully updated.

  • The name and the data changed

    The task "foobar" has been successfully renamed to "dummy" and updated.


If you would like shorter notifications (mobile use) and don't care about English grammar, you can leave out the "The task" and "has been successfullly" to get:

"foobar" renamed to "dummy".

"foobar" updated.

"foobar" renamed to "dummy" and updated.

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  • Ok, that looks too ambitious for me because that would mean a message as precise as your example for every kind of modifications.
    – user30979
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 10:26
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    @EtienneRouxel Not at all. You only need to be this clear when the name of the item has changed, as without it you will confuse your users. The rest of the time "Item 'foobar' has been updated" is perfectly fine.
    – JohnGB
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 10:40
  • Ok, and what should I do if both renaming and other modifications happen?
    – user30979
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 12:01
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    I would say The task "foobar" has been successfully renamed to "dummy". To be even more clear. 'Changed' might be interpreted as 'Replaced with' and might contain other changes but the name. Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 12:47
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    The messages seem a little verbose in my view. Perhaps 'Renamed foobar to dummy!', 'Updated foobar!' and 'Updated and renamed foobar to dummy!' would be more apt.
    – Brendon
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 8:40
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There are two different activities.... 1. Changing the details of a task and 2. Changing the task name itself. If details of task are changed, 'The task "foobar" has been successfully updated' is the message suitable. If the task name itself is changed, 'The task "foobar" has been successfully renamed to "dummy"' is the message suitable.

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  • The two different activities are not mutually exclusives so what should I do if both happen?
    – user30979
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 10:28
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    If details as well as the task name is changed, message should be "The task foobar is renamed as dummy and the task details are updated successfully"
    – rags
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 10:42
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"The task "foobar" has been successfully updated"

for updates within the task, but not the name. if the update is the name or includes the name then :

"The task "foobar" has been successfully updated and renamed to "dummy" "

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