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Jurij Burkanov

Thoughts on saving process

Wednesday 30 May 2012 6:45:53 pm

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There is an issue with saving process, I have almost forgotten about, though it was mentioned multiple times during my interviews: "casual users" tend to spawn many drafts of the pages, because they start editing and then leave the system without properly discarding the draft. I know that actually some improvements were done in this area, but just wanted to add a couple of my ideas (hopefully, simple to implement, because it's mostly about labeling and front-end).

Just some background to the problem: casual users are familiar with linear filing systems, like "Word". The workflow there is very straightforward - you've got a file - you open it to read and edit - you save it - you open it again, see your changes, do some more, save it again - (repeat et cetera). You wouldn't, as any normal user won't, expect "Word" to produce a fresh copy of the file and save it each time you opens a document.In case of CMS there is a problem: actually, you're not able of editing a published page (well, technically that were possible, but who would like to let site visitors see the page while it's being edited?). So, each time a user starts editing any published page, the system creates a draft - which is what our casual users don't expect at all, so they won't bother discarding it and would just close the browser window. Here's the second problem: as we train our systems to worship user's work and don't let it come to harm, we save any drafts user unconsciously produces.May be it's just a matter of process flow and labeling. What if we make an editing process a step longer and will force the user first manually to create a draft of the published page and then start editing it? If we're not able to make streamlined process, let us at least, keep users actively informed about the steps system makes by editing some published content. I think, this will cause less frustration and will be much more honest and clear, beside of that, it will allow us to eliminate the need for "store draft" & "store draft and exit" buttons at all. Save would be always performed automatically, like in Google Docs, and the only two actions would be "discard draft" and "publish draft".

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