I want to explore a modern approach to exporting data from an application which has become popular on mobile devices. Historically we'd have a button in our desktop applications:
That might then open another dialog with options and allow you to save a file. In almost every case, the next user action would be to open that file with another application, for example a CSV file might be opened in Excel.
But on mobile and tablets, the file system is typically hard to use and so a new concept arose.
This takes the user right past the 'save to file system' step and directly opens the appropriate application with the right data. If necessary, the user can still 'save as...' that data to a file, but more likely they will just continue their work. Behind the scenes the file would be saved to some tmp folder to make it all work.
In my application, users are already confused between 'export' and 'print report', and 'CSV' doesn't really mean much to non-technical users other than that they have learnt to equate it with 'Excel'.
- What problems do you see with this approach?
- If a user chooses "share with Excel" and is then presented with a dialog to choose options (perhaps date ranges or even the export columns) does that break the metaphor?
- How might I handle users with OpenOffice or other preferred CSV tools? I'm targetting both Windows and OSX, and so far technical solutions to locate tools aren't trivial
- Should I keep a "share with file" option to ease the migration?
- Any thoughts about the UX implications of moving from Export to Share and skipping the disk saving step?
Edit: I've mocked up an example of the choices you might get under 'share'.
They are indicative only (the choices will depend on what part of the program you are in) but starts to show the relationship between exporting and other sharing-like activity.