Would "save" and "unsave" make sense for the user to clearly make a piece of content in an app available for offline viewing? (Potentially the use of a star alone will be used instead of a word but for now I'm curious to what is appropriate text wise).

Issues: - The Word unsave doesn't sound nice - Save/unsave doesn't exactly read as "online/offline" (I think offline however isn't as clear)

Other ideas: - Star/unstar - Fav/remove

  • 4
    Does saving an item do anything other than making it available offline? If not, why not just call it what it is: "Available offline"?
    – Matt Obee
    May 23 '14 at 13:03

Using words like "star" or "favorite" usually imply some sort of bookmarking or tagging, which in this use case would not communicate to the user the true meaning of the interaction.

The three examples below are similar in that they explicitly label the action using words that are unambiguous. Any variation on the wording below would be acceptable so long as a user who has never used your UI would be able to look at the element and tell you what it does.

Microsoft's approach on Windows Server is pretty clear:

To make a file or folder available offline Open My Computer.

  1. In My Computer, click the shared network file or folder that you want to make available offline.

  2. On the File menu, click Make Available Offline.

  3. Follow the steps in the Offline Files Wizard.

Similarly, in Microsoft Office, the language explicitly describes the function:

enter image description here

Google Docs on iOS uses a slightly different approach:

To make a file available offline in the Drive, Docs, and Sheets apps, touch the grey i button next to the file, within a file or the file list, and switch the setting from Off to On next to Keep on device in the details panel.

enter image description here

  • To follow up on your answer, is there a common pattern that exists across companies and products? "Keep on device" seems like the best copy, but is there an overarching pattern that is a common case? Assume that there is. I have an additional question that's more VisD than IxD, but what would a good symbol for "available offline" be? A cloud with a down arrow inside, maybe?
    – SwankyLegg
    May 23 '14 at 18:57
  • As for a common pattern, I think that is a question that some research should be able to answer. In the three examples I used, it seems a common enough pattern. What other cloud-based products do might be informative, so I'd encourage your team to dig into that. As for the iconography, as part of the research, take notes and then at the end see if there is any convention in play and consider following that. May 27 '14 at 14:41

The necessity to keep something available offline means that we often need it and want to get it quickly anywhere, anytime.

The closest idea in real life is to pin/unpin something i guess.

But this term may be confusing because of Pinterest. Available offline is an honest term but I would use something more generic


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