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For a multi-page online form our developers disable browser back options and have included a back button on every page of the form. However most pages have a 'save draft' option.

The 'Save draft' leads to a blind end because if the user does not wish to proceed there is no option to cancel or go back. On requesting for a back button I have been asked if there is a valid need for one.

I was hoping to for some support or clarification regarding having a cancel or back button on the page after you choose to save draft.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • What is the question here? Really not getting it, but based on the description, I read you're disabling the browser's back button. Well, don't. No matter what. don't. – Devin Jul 15 '15 at 2:39
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    I may be able to help, @Devin. I think the question is asking for some authoritative material with which to make this case: a dead-end without a way back is a bad idea for users. – JeromeR Jul 15 '15 at 4:28
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I 100% agree that there should be an option for a user to be able to cancel or go back rather than be forced to just save a draft. The following links are to iOS Human Interface Guidelines and Android Design Principles in an effort to support this arguement:

iOS Human Interface Guidelines (Navigation) - https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/MobileHIG/Navigation.html

Android Design Principles - http://developer.android.com/design/get-started/principles.html

Firstly I want to reference the iOS Guideline of:

Users should always know where they are in your app and how to get to their next destination.

Although this is referencing an app, the same principle can be applied to a multi-paged form. As a user is going through a multi-paged form they will be learning more about the context and intent of what the form is about based on the questions asked. During this process a user could quite easily discover that they filled out information incorrectly on a previous page. With the ability to go back to the previous page being very common across web browsers and mobile devices, a user will attempt to go back to the previous page in the form. Now I'd like to reference an Android Design Principle of:

Decide for me but let me have the final say - Take your best guess and act rather than asking first. Too many choices and decisions make people unhappy. Just in case you get it wrong, allow for 'undo'.

Though your developers are proposing a decision for the user in "Save Draft", you are not letting the user have the final say. With a user knowing that they've made a mistake on the previous page and the user having previous experience of being able to "back" in forms and pages on other websites, this would create a very frustrating user experience.

My recommendation would be to include the 'Back' button, but have the functionality in the background that would also act as the 'Save Draft' functionality. This would allow a user to not only go back to a previous page, but retain any information they've already entered on that page.

  • Thanks a lot Clint, that was very helpful. You have given me the words I was struggling to articulate. Thanks a lot!! – Prashanth Aug 20 '15 at 2:39
  • Not a problem @Prashanth happy to help :) If you are happy with the answer make sure to accept it to close it out (unless you are looking for better answers of course!) – Clint Aug 20 '15 at 4:54

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