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Customers are requesting a history button in the navigation of a system

The main reasons being

  • Convenient to go back to a state you might have lost after automatically being logged out (saving clicks and selections)
  • A reminder on what you were working on last time so you can continue
  • Found it to be a sell in an older system
  • Some customers will perhaps use the older and newer system and might then miss it from the newer system

This is not a feature I have seen used widely in systems (except for browsers) and would appreciate if you have any examples or thoughts on the matter

My guess is that this feature is supporting edge cases and thus questionable if it should take up valuable space in the main nav bar but I'm curious to hear other thoughts and ideas

Thanks! :)

  • It sounds like it's not so much a "history" button but a "save" and then "return to saved" action. – Mayo May 28 '15 at 14:03
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As a matter of fact it's a very common feature, and becoming more common every day. Here you have a couple samples of 2 apps using it.

Think about this: I'm adding these specific 2 just because I had them open, nowadays any collaborative application will need to have that state. And it seems your users actually perform some action, then the history button is really needed, or you'll be negating control that you could easily provide, thus really bad UX.

Examples

Google Docs: enter image description here

InVision:

clicking on this

enter image description here

will go to this:

enter image description here

Another example is StackExchange rollbacks, Github, Jira, Atlassian, Slack and the list goes on and on. Basically, if your app is a productivity one, you need a history button of some kind.

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Being automatically logged out and losing data/work is usually affiliated with bad user experience. In what manner are the users being logged out?

Be always careful, as users will always ask what they think they want. Make sure to analyse the needs not the wants. A back button might not solve their problems.

  • Sorry guys, I probably wasn’t clear enough about this (good points never the less :) The worry is not so much the loss of data but more like finding your place back in the system where you had already drilled down to certain levels of selection etc. For example the user would be working on a certain customer and selected to view detail evaluation grid on a selected subject. Also since they may have to drill down a number of customers to view the evaluation for it might be easy to lose track on where you were if you were to continue the next day for example. – Nina May 28 '15 at 18:26
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Yes you can use an array (as a Stack) to store the last 20-30 pages or zones visited by the users and you can move them back and forth using simple push pop operations Well now about the position navigation bar is the better place but if you working on touch devices then you might want to use the left to right slide to pull the previous page... Moreover for a website you can create a charms (like windows 8) where user can hover and see the recently/mostly visited section like contact page or profile page further you can also add a small rollback or undo button at the top in the nav bar whenever user does some action as provided in ms word etc Hope it helps

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