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I have a web application in which a user can create filters for a news feed.

When the user creates or modifies his filters, everything is saved to the server through API requests (without the need for an explicit 'Save' button).

Requests are throttled and fire when there have been no more actions for 1000ms.

Should I still display a notification when a save request is fired, or keep everything in the background?

My thinking is that it may be annoying for someone who spends a lot of time configuring his filters to see 'filters saved' popping up all the time...

I read in the Apple UX guidelines :

Support Auto Save and Versions, if appropriate. Users expect their content to be saved continuously and mostly without their intervention.

Does this apply to web products, and do all people expect this behaviour or only apple users?

  • Think about the different between the behaviour and interactions you want for new users compared to experienced users. Are you going to cater for them separately or will you only have the one behaviour? How will users know the first time they use the system that the filter options are automatically saved? – Michael Lai Sep 23 '14 at 22:39
  • On first login, they would go through a tour of all the features, where everything is told to them explicitely. Good enough? – xShirase Sep 23 '14 at 22:41
  • Users may not go through all the details in the tour, or may even skip it. I suggest a popup when they first come across the feature as well. – Michael Lai Sep 24 '14 at 21:36
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Yes, it most certainly does apply to web products.

Whenever something in the backend is happening without the user's knowledge and they are waiting for it to happen, and they get no notice, that's when the frustration kicks in.

When ever anything autosaves, take a look at what some applications do. A great example of this is Evernote. They don't have an explicit save button, but instead a notice appears telling the user what happened like so:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

The X might not even have to be present, because once the user becomes aware of this autosave, it could become very tiresome to x out of a message like that. Usually messages like that are a little less obvious.

Sometimes, what happens is you'd have a section in the header where it says:

Last saved: 10 minutes ago

Something like that could be even more efficient and can easily take less space.

Just make sure to let your users know, or else they will get frustrated for not understanding what's going on.

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A good great example is the Google Drive message:

Google Drive Auto Save Message

It updates automatically when the user changes everything on the document.

It allows to the user to be informed about everything is happening on the background.

  • Google drive is a different situation though, surely. The OP situation is around saving selected filters for reuse. Are you sure both situations merit the same feedback? – JonW Sep 24 '14 at 8:40
  • Good question JonW...In my opinion, in both cases we are talking about autosaving and I think that is a good practice to keep informed to the user about data changes :) – Uge Sep 25 '14 at 6:19
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Taking the Apple example, when I choose a new wallpaper I can actually see it applied in the background without having to think or find 'Apply' or 'Save' button. This is true if you make some change and see it reflected immediately.

Can you see the news-feed update automatically as you add/modify the filters?

If so, no notification necessary. The users will know that their changes being applied to the feed and the notification will be redundant. Otherwise, it's better to show a static message 'changes are automatically saved' once or 'All changes are saved' every time the user makes a change.

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