Any opinions or research on if having a preview on a mobile publishing platform is good UX or a bit too much? Consider the following scenario on web

  1. User edits a message to post it in social media
  2. The User is provided with options to "Save" or "Preview" the post

Would it be good to allow the users to Preview also in the mobile platform, or would it be likely to add unnecessary complexity to mobile app?

To give a bit of context, in this case, the posts are small and text-only, and would be also editable later (if you want to change your post after posting it, it is easy)


There is no reason to give a preview option on text-only posts. The content of the post is nothing more than the text entered. By "previewing" it, the user just sees the same text again on a different screen. What benefit does that give? "Preview" only makes sense when there is something about the content's appearance that you won't be able to see in the edit mode.

The ability to edit the posts later is a further argument against the preview feature. Allowing mistakes to be corrected is often preferable to extra steps to correct mistakes. For bigger pieces of content, "publishing" may be a significant step that you won't want to do before fixing all errors. But it doesn't make sense to use this paradigm for brief content.

  • the edit may be too late if one can see their past edits or revisions. Especially if what was posted isnt appopriate or high risk. – Frank Visaggio Nov 7 '14 at 15:17

There may be value in temporarily doing it to allow new users to get familiar with the appI would say do it the first time or 4 and then have a never do this again option. That way when they are still getting familiar with it they can undo.

High risk publications may also benifit from a preview. Ie changing your relationship status or your place of employment you may want to preview it first. Imagine if you changed your place of employment and had autocorrect spell the name wrong, that preview feedback loop is a second chance at checking your work catching an error and posting something of higher quality.

Why preview text only posts? To show the context of where that text will be going and give a user a chance to undo as they are getting familiar with the system. IE you intend to send someone a message "I cant stand my boss karen.." but you just downloaded the mobile app and fat fingered the status update form instead of what was the message button. Or you posted it on her public wall vs in a private message.

Its similiar to the cc all mistake. You cant prevent it 100% but for new users a preview of where that text is going "may" be useful. I dont have any concrete research to say one way or another.

For posts the user does multiple times i wouldnt do it. Ie if they are very familiar with the feature IE their 10th-1000th tweet , theres no need to preview in my opinion.

You want to make it friendly and easy to prevent mistakes for a novice while not slowing down an expert

  • But what does "preview" give when it is text-only content? What will they see by previewing that they can't see while editing it? – user31143 Nov 7 '14 at 14:44
  • see edit. Just my thought, and even then i doubt preview would be a feature that each user interacts with that often. but adding it may be benificial – Frank Visaggio Nov 7 '14 at 15:18
  • Thank you for your recommendation. I will try remember to post here after this has been tried out, and how it went. However, I guess there is no single one right answer, as it is a trade-off between different priorities. – Skuirrel Nov 10 '14 at 16:57

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