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In the application I am working on, a user would create a new entity (e.g. a topic) which will remain hidden until it is checked by a moderator. once approved, child entities can then be added to that parent entity (e.g. posts added to that topic).

After creating the topic, my application currently sends the user back to the /Home/Index page. This is bad because the user is left wondering why his/her newly created topic isn't showing.

What is the technical name of the page I am referring to? Also what is the best way of informing the user that:

Hey! Thanks for creating the new topic, after a moderator approves it, it'll show up and you can add posts to it.

My current thinking is, something like a process time-line or process steps-line:

steps

Not sure if this is the recommended way though. I hope you UX experts can shed some light on this for me.

  • can the user do other stuff while waiting for moderator approval? how long does moderator approval take? – tohster Mar 17 '15 at 16:25
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    Hmm now that you mention it, I think it might be better to allow the Topic starter to see his/her topic but hide it from everyone else? Approval might take anything up to 2 days. – J86 Mar 17 '15 at 17:17
  • A small flag saying topic is waiting for moderator approval would also help. – nightning Mar 17 '15 at 19:35
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Navigating as a side effect of some other action is not a good idea, I feel. Similar to pushing the user around...

Why not show an empty Topic page where some stuff looks like it will look after approval, such as title and creator link (if any), while the content area (where posts will appear after approval) shows a message saying "Topic is waiting for approval"?

First, it removes the navigation. After she realizes the topic needs approval, the user might want to leave your site entirely (to come back tomorrow).

Second, the preview allows the user the check for spelling etc. This is useful only if changes to the topic are still possible, but if that's allowed, it might improve the quality of the pages.

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  • This solution might break in the specific instance where creating series of entities in a row is a common task, as it would slow down user productivity and also become redundant (users would be quickly aware that moderation is needed); This might actually be a good rate limiting strategy for implementing comment systems on apps that expect to deal with controversial topics or trolls. Otherwise, it's pretty neat and spot-on! – Steve Dodier-Lazaro Mar 17 '15 at 20:21
  • Well, if repeat creation was in the use case (please confirm, OP!?), you could put the link to it with the message, saying "This topic is waiting for approval, want to create another one?". – virtualnobi Mar 17 '15 at 20:24
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Feedback

If your entity creation process has "serious" implications for your users, and especially if it may involve them taking actions outside your app (booking a ticket somewhere, buying something and retrieving a tracking number), you may want to print a summary page where they get key information about how you identify the entity they've created and the offline actions they can perform related to it.

If on the other hand entity creation is a mundane task, and all entities can be browsed from within your app at a later stage / do not normally require the user to remember or take note of any specific thing, then you can simply move to the "next" page and add a visible notification that indicates success / error / passes basic information about the task. See for instance Bootstrap's alerts. I personally use those with strong enough green/red colors (+ clear symbolic icons for color-blind users), so users can understand when an error occurred¹ or be notified that the entity submission process worked.

Navigation

(if you end up using a light enough form of feedback that doesn't take an entire page)

What is the one action that your user is very likely to do after creating a new entity? Taking them to the place where they can perform that action could be a good idea. If they can do several things (e.g. further edit the entity, or create a new one, or list all entities they've created and manage their moderation progress), then you could either:

  • use different "submit" buttons (only if very few actions, else there's a cognitive overload associated with it when submitting the form, which can stress novice users as they may be worried to click the wrong button and lose their progress)
  • take users to a "landing" page where they can get the different options they might need
  1. A note on errors: it's really bad to display an error after the user has done all the inputing, and it's better to catch errors on the fly and notify users about them locally, where they occur. This being said, you can still have bugs in your application or network/client issues which might cause a form submission to fail and require showing such an error. Post-hoc error notifications can be suitable for such unexpected, unrecoverable errors.
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