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I would like to seek for your help regarding my certain use case on the following.

The following UI below allows the user to toggle the status of an auto-archiving job, and the days before data will be archived.

enter image description here

The business rule is simple. Once I activated the auto-archive toggle button, I must specify the days before the data is archived. Rule is that the days must not be below 3 days and above 30 days (3-30 days only is allowed).

Currently, I can handle the provided business rule with validations. Now, here's a use case of my concern:

On preparation, I have the following state:

  • Toggle is ON.
  • Days is for example, 5 days (taken from database).

The user changes the days into 2 days, and suddenly turned OFF the flag (not yet submitting the form). Then he clicked the Save button (which proceeds with the submission process).

Currently, the data is not saved because of failure to the # of days required, and the system doesn't prompt anything.

The question is that... if I were to turn off the toggle, should I:

  1. Have already kept the original value to a hidden field and when such case occurs, the system will revert back to the original data, or

  2. Should I set the days field to the default minimum value of days, which is 3 based on the business rule provided.

Thank you and hoping for feedbacks regarding my concern.

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Saving an erroneous answer provides negative reinforcement to the user.

If the field is erroneous I would set it back to the default value, which in this case is blank.

Setting it to the closest-valid-value may seem assistive, but it is presumptuous design and can confuse users. For example the user might have been starting to enter 26 and decided to disable autoarchive.... In which case she will be startled to see the number changed to 3.

For valid numbers I would suggest saving them, which I think is your intent anyway. This allows users to disable autoarchiving temporarily (e.g. when out of office or whatever) without having to re-enter the value when it is re-enabled.
If you need users to re-enter the value when the switch is toggled (i.e. positive affirmation), then you can clear or hide the input when the toggle is disabled.

Btw, kudos on thinking through the interaction corner cases here.

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    I agree with this, in my early days I used to set certain values on fields and found that my users were pretty confused. I quickly learned not to do this and instead set it back to the default (usually empty) value. – JonH Mar 12 '15 at 20:12
  • But the problem is, the system won't proceed because the value of days is invalid upon submission. Should I set it with previous value or minimun value? – Ju-chan Mar 13 '15 at 3:19
  • Is your error checking client side or server side? If client side you can blank out the textbox before submit. If server side, usually there is a mechanism to rerender the form. – tohster Mar 13 '15 at 3:22
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    In that case it should be pretty easy to just check the disabled status before validating the input box. But this is already veering out of scope for UX and into implementation territory – tohster Mar 13 '15 at 5:44
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    Yep, agree on that. :) I just really need some way on the user's side. Thanks :D – Ju-chan Mar 13 '15 at 5:48
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It doesn't make sense to store or even request the days when the switch is OFF.

I would only show the auto archive data switch when it is in the OFF position.

Once the switch is in the ON position I would then show the Days to Archive number picker which doesn't go below 3 or above 30. 3 would be the default since it is the safest valid choice.

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