We're creating an app and my research on UX puts me into the mindset that 'a button text must be a verb that describes its function'

So i have created a jQuery modal box and an edit modal box (which is actually the same modal box).

The button text for the Create functions says 'Create [item]'

I'm unsure whether to use 'Edit [item]' or 'Save [item]' for the Modal box text for the edit functionality.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

4 Answers 4


I think you should focus on what is the real meaning of an action rather than actual function.

I understand your case like this: there is a modal, on which the whole editing occurs. Once the edits are done, user can click button that submits the changes. Theoretically, it is understandable that pressing [edit] would submit these changes (this is a pattern you can see sometimes, I cannot point any system right now, but it happens). For the user, however, it's saving the changes. So, [Save] seems to be better word on the button.

You can consider naming it [Save edits] or [Save changes] which would (I believe) merge both meanings.

  • Many thanks for your comments, I've gone for 'Save [item]' text when confirming the changes in the Edit Modal Dialogue as i think you are right in saying the user is 'saving the changes' Aug 6, 2013 at 10:37

What does the "edit" button do? If it opens an edit mode - call it "edit". If it actually saves the object - call it "save". Be sure to include an exit for the user if the changes aren't desirable to save, thus include a cancel button.

  • The edit will allow the user to update the name, description and other details for a record. Also, i just noticed on this forum that the edit button opened this textarea and the confirmation button says 'Save edits'. I know I'm probably getting bogged down too much in detail, but i think 'Save [item]' is definitely the wording to use (along with the Cancel button). Aug 6, 2013 at 10:41

I would call it "Edit" only if the end-user will be editing in the next step. If you are calling it "Edit" because clicking it will edit/update the back-end database, this will confuse users.

Even if they are knowledgable about the behind-the-scenes of your system, the expectation from the user's point of view will be to click edit if they are going to edit data.

I know, technically they aren't saving the data either - but having a "Save" button after the user edits feels like they are.


The convention is to use 'edit' to unlock editing capabilities, and save to save edits. Consider:

Iphone contact editing screenshot

You can argue that once changes has been made by the user - edits have been already carried out. What the user is to do is save the changes, not edit anything.

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