Save vs Save and Close in a web app

9 Feb 2012 - 3:26pm
4 years ago
2 replies
948 reads

I have just returned from a parental leave and have discovered that my team has implemented a 'Save, Submit, Ok, Close' button group on windows. The apparent logic behind the decision was that the Product Manager did not like that clicking 'Save' also closed the window. So currently, the 'Save' button saves the info and provides some text indicating such. 'Submit',  closes the window and changes the status of the form, 'Ok', saves & closes and 'Cancel' closes without saving. Although this is not in user hands yet (thank goodness!) I would like to provide some suggestions as to how we might improve this and would love some input.


10 Feb 2012 - 7:53am
Henri Huttunen

Why force the user to "start the save engine"? How about developing automatic saving (with clear state indicators in the UI) and a decent 'undo' history? In my opinion, it works wonders in text editors (especially Google Docs, which was the first I saw it online) and it can even increase reliability.

So item would be saved upon any inactivity, but an undo function would help in the case of erroneous save. Depending on the perceived value of the item one is creating, maybe even provide versioning?

These are tall orders to put on your development team in cases of applications with a legacy behind them. I have that problem, currently, but I still try to push the case every now and then to keep automatic saving on everyone's radar.

10 Feb 2012 - 1:14pm
Larry Tesler

Anastasia, could you clarify...

  1. Is the fourth button "Close" or "Cancel"? You used both labels.
  2. Before you began parental leave, what buttons were in these windows and what did each button do?
  3. What are the contents of these windows? For example, is each one a form that sometimes takes more than one session to complete, but once submitted, can't be changed, or even seen? Or is each one a document that can be retrieved and revised endlesly? Or what?
  4. Can more than one user make changes to whatever is in these windows? If so, can there be at most one person editing at a time but any number of people reading? Will they be reading the last saved version or the last submitted version? Is the right to edit governed by a check-out/check-in mechanism, or can only the document creator edit it, or what?
  5. Per Henri's suggestions, how feasible is it for the software to handle auto-saving and rollback?
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