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In the application that I'm currently working on, the user is allowed to make changes to a subset of data from an external data source. Changes are made using basic or custom controls such as Toggle Buttons, Text Boxes, and Sliders. Changes made to the data source by the user are actually not submitted to the data source until the user confirms or cancels the changes.

Visual feedback should be displayed should the control (eg. ToggleButton) detects a change in value and is pending submission or cancellation. My question then becomes, how best should this be indicated?

My current idea is to have a flag that appears in the corner of the control with maybe an common icon (example below). However, is there a standard icon for this? An asterisk (*) icon was considered because it often means a file has been modified and is pending a save. However, I figure that might be confusing on controls because generally an asterisk is used to indicate a requirement of a field.

Below is an example of how a button might look with the "changed" flag in the corner of it. Example of Toggle Button control with the changed flag.

  • Why not disable the button if there's no pending submission or cancellation ? The button automatically enables when there's some pending submission or cancellation so the user can learn that easily that if there's something pending the button is enabled otherwise it's not ! – Nofel Mahmood Oct 14 '14 at 14:50
  • The user is the one that is creating the submission by interacting with these controls. So they cannot be disabled. Basically the user can make a bunch of changes using the controls, and then submit it as a bulk change to the external data source. Visual feedback should indicate that a specific piece of data has been modified. This is used in a simulation training environment where the instructor needs to set up a specific condition, and then submit the entire simulation condition at a precise time. – deloreyk Oct 14 '14 at 15:18
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As I recall, excel used that green flag to denote a cell that was calculated from a function. This might confuse the average person who's seen that before.

Personally, I think the best way to denote that changes are pending on a per-field basis would be to make the text bold and/or surround the field with a more pronounced text-box look. When they submit the changes, it goes back to standard font and text-box look.

This is not based on any standard, just from seeing how other programs act. You might take a look at various income tax software that's out there, they would deal with this per-field pending submission fairly regularly.

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