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Background

Users can use a web app to submit content without having to create an account (similar to pastebin, imgur, and jsfiddle). If the site's cookie is cleared, they can no longer edit previously entered data. Users can associate content with an email address, to obtain the ability to edit even after clearing their cookies.

Problem

I am looking for a concise, non-technical phrase that denotes this mechanism. Ideas include:

  • Save data.
  • Save your data.
  • Save to an account.
  • Save data to an account.
  • Add data to an account.
  • Add data to your account.
  • Log in to retain data editability.
  • Associate data with your email address.

For example, if the site allowed users to enter public domain sheet music, a phrase might be, "Save your sheet music."

The word "Save" implies that the information isn't saved, which is not technically true. The information is saved, but if the cookie is cleared there is no way to make further changes to the document.

Additionally, an account is already created when the user first visits the site, so there is no "registration" process, per se. Users are unaware that an account has been created on their behalf, so telling them to associate their content with an account relies on a false assumption of knowledge.

Question

How would you communicate this idea of saved-but-possibly-uneditable-data to users who have no concept of cookies?

  • Can you tell us what is the audience that you expect? – PatomaS Mar 3 '14 at 1:50
  • The audience is the general public who have some experience using web browsers. – Dave Jarvis Mar 3 '14 at 1:57
  • Then it's going to be normal/average users. I'd go with the registered and non-registered option and/or the explanation of your system, as detailed as you feel it should be. – PatomaS Mar 3 '14 at 2:10
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Since you don't mention that an account is created at any time, or at least is not required, then the options related to "account" are not precise.

From the user perspective, there is no account, so both behaviours may be a surprise, keeping the information and losing it.

"Associate data with your email address" Is exactly what your site does or offers, so that is the best option. But, since that is not a common behaviour, you should explain to the user how the site works, it may be on the same page or in a separate page, but be sure that the user gets the information.

Since you don't want to pass the burden of the process to the user, you can be imprecise, and say something like the information is going to be stored temporarily and may be deleted. Here "temporarily" and "may be" are key since they transmit the idea but don't clarify it enough. So it leaves the user with a feeling that the information won't be there later.

I don't like that. But it may be the right option if you expect users which are not used to create account, don't want to do it or are nor very comfortable on Internet.

On the other hand, you could explain how the site works, use references, links or images to explain each element of the site or it's terminology. That way, you offer the user the option to educate himself about your site, how it works and some concepts that may prove useful on other sites.

You also can offer two kinds of use of the site, registered and non-registered. In one, you do the association of the data, in the other, you don't. That way, you bridge some concepts and common behaviours on Internet with your site and how it works. That makes things easy for the user. If you use this option, there is no need for a complex process for creating an account, just mail and password. You can even skip verification since it's not crucial, that way, you provide a familiar experience without much extra work for you.

  • For what it's worth, the site has no passwords and I'm trying to avoid the concept of registration altogether. – Dave Jarvis Mar 3 '14 at 2:15
  • I'm with you on that. I just mentioned because it's a common expectation. But If something is not required, then it shouldn't be there. The only potential problem, is people using/abusing somebody's else account. You may think on not showing the email of the person that posted the content to avoid/reduce problems. – PatomaS Mar 3 '14 at 2:21
  • The email is never shown on any part of the site. – Dave Jarvis Mar 3 '14 at 2:27

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