What is the best messaging for when a user submits a form to update some fields e.g. such as in a user profile, etc. but no values were changed.

In my situation, nothing gets updated in the DB when this occurs.

It seems unnecessary to show the user a message like "... nothing was updated because no changes were made" etc. At the same time, it seems incorrect to say "your update was successful" etc. since there were no actual updates to any values.

What is the best messaging here, if any at all?

3 Answers 3


Sometimes, as a user I forget what value I used in my profile(for example email id comes to mind, people have multiple email ids ). I would still click on update just to make sure my email was rightly updated. As a UI user I dont know what value is stored in the database. I still clicked on Update and I expect to see "Update successful" or "Done" message.


Usually you would just by default display the "Your update was successful" message, assuming that even if nothing was changed, the information was still updated to the latest values.

If no action occurs, you could alternatively display a warning, or info message that tells them "Please change information to update your account" or something along that line.

There is not really any "best" way to do it in that case. The form itself should be self-explanatory to the user that they can update the information, or do nothing, in which case, they wouldn't click the submit button if they didn't update any information in the first place, and if they did click it, it could be to make sure that all of the information they see currently is saved correctly before they move on to other pages.

  • "assuming that even if nothing was changed, the information was still updated to the latest values" - If nothing changed, the values in the DB would already be equal to the "latest values" thus, no updating work is actually done.
    – GWR
    Dec 29, 2015 at 0:06
  • Yes, the values are the same, but the task to update them was still completed nonetheless, right? If that is how your system works. Most systems I know won't usually check to see if the values in the database are the same as the values in form the user submits, so it updates it to the values from the form regardless. Dec 29, 2015 at 1:31
  • No, in this case, the system knows when values have changed and only does work (e.g. the update) when there is a need - though the user doesn't see this.
    – GWR
    Dec 29, 2015 at 1:54
  • My questions stems from the idea that, aside from any messaging, in the case that the user submits an update with no changes to the values, the result, to the user, is the same whether or not the actual db update takes place. The question is about what, if anything the user should be presented with in that case
    – GWR
    Dec 29, 2015 at 1:57

I don't like long messages even if this were not the case, my preference is a just a green Vee and the message "Done".

  • What if the user forgot to change something and accidently saved it? I agree on keeping messages short, but it should also display the status correctly. Dec 29, 2015 at 11:01
  • If there's a need for a warning, then warn. The OP's case warrants just a simple "Done".
    – avnr
    Dec 29, 2015 at 11:04

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