So we have webapp where teachers can create student lesson plans, that they can share with a community of academics. After user clicks "create" - we autosave that plan (defaults for all fields) into the database, and there's no way around this. In fact, its complicated to rewire the autosave feature.

We found that our users end up filling up contents of that lesson plan, click save, and NEVER change the name. This leaves us with a long list of plans without names, or default placeholder text such as "New Plan"; think of Google Drive to get an idea how that works.

The happy path we came up with was forcing users to name the plan in a modal during creation. And now I'm having reservations about it - is there a better way to force naming of something?

  • This seems like a very common form design situation. Usually the approach is to leave the name field blank, and then throw a form error when the user tries to submit the form to let the user know they should fill in the name. Am i missing something? – tohster Apr 20 '15 at 20:33

A solution for this would be progressive disclosure where you break it down into steps where after completing the first step only , the user is able to do the second step. To quote the this GoodUI article

Progressive Disclosure protects the user from too much irrelevant information. It's a pattern which only shows information gradually if it makes sense to do so - often in the context of forms. Typically, progressive disclosure's gradual unveiling is also accompanied by some form of inline expansion or slide out animation.

Taking your use case an example, here would be the flow


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • Great idea! Couldn't think of where I've seen this, but its a bit more intuitive. – gamengineers Apr 20 '15 at 20:37

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