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I have a web form with a check box. The inputs to the form are very important and any mistake in the form could serious ramifications. There is also an approval process around any change to the values that this form controls.

Right now I have a check box on the form that basically says that the form is approved as is. Right now I have it set that the form always resets to unapproved whenever it is brought up to create or edit. Is this an ok way to encourage re approval for every change as opposed to having the approval persist from the previous state of the form?

Basically

Option 1

User gives approval for for content and clicks save. When the edit button is clicked the form returns to previous state of approval. This is easier for a user but allows the user to change the fields of the form without explicitly acknowledging that he or she has edited the form.

Option 2

Whenever the form is pulled up the user has to consciously reapprove (or preferably ask someone else to approve) which could be inconvenient and could introduce error when someone pulls up the form to read and forgets to re click approve.

Is there an alternative that is preferred over these two?

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The person editing it would know the significance of the edit, whether it's a minor typo fix or a rewrite.

So you can consider putting in a checkbox next to the save button.

mockup

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I would suggest adding a preview screen after the user clicks submit, so they can review what they have written, and ask them, "are you sure your edits are correct?"

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Option 3

Capture all saved states of the document in the history of edits. Display the history as a list of versions on click by the icon/button.

Use the list of versions with time and date of edit, the list should have a filter of latest to earliest and vice versa, and a text search (to look up a certain edit by the word). Let users choose one of the former states as a current version and to copy from former states to the current version.

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  • This would be preferred, but reminds me of the phrase "swatting flies with a hammer." Most data systems do not save every version of the data as it changes. Rarely do we need the previous version, especially if "any mistake in the form could serious ramifications." It had better be correct each time it is modified. If it was correct, why go back? If you can go back, then it is not true that any change has serious ramifications. In other words: this is a critical system, inconsistent with the idea that changes can be undone. Gliders don't get a second go-around at the runway. – user67695 Mar 14 '17 at 19:25
  • Google Drive saves all the previous versions, and so does Confluence wiki, and probably Wikipedia. I expect there are other examples, e.g. at least having a long memory of actions for the Undo button to revert back to. – Yvonne Aburrow Mar 15 '17 at 9:36

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