For a specific project drawing app, i have a bit of a problem with the terminology of some of the buttons. Namely the buttons to save a drawingboard and to return to the drawingboard 'gallery'.

In bottomright of the screen, i have 3 buttons:

enter image description here

  • Preview: Show the current drawing board in fullscreen (hides all settings/tools)
  • Cancel: Return to the gallery without saving (if changes are made, asks to save)
  • Save: Save current drawingboard and return to the gallery.

Now, I thought this would work with the actions described above, but i learned that the "save" button shouldn't return the user to the gallery, just save the current drawingboard. This makes the button "Cancel" a bit weird, imagening the following userflow:

Create drawingboard -> Draw -> Save drawingboard -> Cancel (to return to gallery)

I thought I would just rename the button cancel to something else, but i can't think of any good term that would cover it.


  • Finish (i'm finished with this drawing)
  • Close (i'm closing the current drawing, saved or not)
  • Back (i want to get back to the gallery, which is the previous screen)
  • Exit (i want to quit/exit the current drawing)

They all seem off of the action performed, which is just returning to the gallery.

  • You could just called the button 'save and close' to inform the user that it will be doing 2 actions
    – Fractional
    Jan 3, 2014 at 15:42
  • My vote is for Back. You might not be 'finish'ed with your drawing and 'Close' and 'Exit' might suggest you'll close the app. Jan 3, 2014 at 16:05
  • 1
    Why not just label it Gallery?
    – Kai
    Jan 3, 2014 at 16:09
  • 1
    What did you mean to say in the title of the question? "to return f... ?" Jan 3, 2014 at 17:35
  • Guess i got distracted and forgot to complete the title
    – DennisW
    Jan 6, 2014 at 8:33

2 Answers 2


What I did in a similar situation is label the button "Close" until a change is made to the screen, and once a change is made, rename it to "Cancel". This way initially you get Preview and Close, and the Save button is disabled because there are no changes to save. After the first edit you get Preview, Cancel and Save is enabled. Pressing Cancel takes you back to the gallery. Once you press Save, the buttons return to their initial states because once again there are no new changes to save. So Cancel changes back to Close, and Save becomes disabled until a new change is made.

  • amen... couldn't agree more. Jan 4, 2014 at 9:06

A button that returns the user to the "gallery" should be labeled: Gallery (or "Return to Gallery" or "Back to Gallery" ... etc). Buttons should represent what they will do when interacted with; they should describe what the user is wanting to do with their action.

A user wishing to return to the "gallery" has a very clear path by pressing a button labeled as such. If changes have been made to the drawing you can ask if they wish to save those changes before returning.

"Cancel", "Close", "Back", "Finish", "Exit" all have a learned meaning. What does it mean to do one of these actions in the context of your application? The user has to learn what would happen and where it would take them when pressed. It is not hard for the user to discover that information, but discover it they must. "Gallery" is a clear meaningful destination within your application the user can recognize and understand.

  • The problem with just using "Gallery" is that it's ambiguous as to whether or not it saves before it moves you to the gallery. Users who assume that it does will lose work. Something like "Back" doesn't have any implication that your work is being saved.
    – Racheet
    Jan 6, 2014 at 13:23

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