So there's really no better analogy? Haven't we eliminated 'saving' altogether? 5 years have past since this came out, there's a whole generation that grew up with touchscreens.
Why bother making everyone re-learn an icon when it doesn't matter at all?
Just google 'save icon' and see what comes up. From a usability point of view, it's useful if the user understands something straight away because they have seen it elsewhere.
It's like saying why do people still use a camera icon when everyone uses their phones! What icon is used to represent 'camera' on iOS? I guess they could use the 'iPhone' icon, but then users might confuse that with phoning someone... Do you see the point I'm making?
…Or an arrowhead as a mouse pointer for that matter.
What is a 'mouse'? Did it come with a floppy disk?
I think you're missing my point, which I've failed to articulate in the original post, but which is written below in comments.
The whole notion of 'saving' is flawed and doesn't make sense anymore.
What have touch screens anything to do with "saving"?
Mobile touchscreen interfaces are the latest widespread development in terms of UIs. VUIs and VR/AR are at an early stage, not counting them in.
The concept of saving isn't included anywhere in mobile touchscreen UIs.
So answering your question:
What have touch screens anything to do with "saving"?
They literary have nothing to do with saving.
I saved an airline ticket on my phone yesterday.
With a floppy disk icon, I bet.
On a more serious note, I guess you've 'added it to your wallet'? Or downloaded the pdf?
No, I clicked a floppy disk icon from a website which saved the ticket to my phone. I knew to do it, because there was a floppy disk icon, which is the universal icon, for saving something, which people still do. How would you use version control or history to make this process better?
Look, you've downloaded a pdf via a website on a phone browser. How's that 'saving'?
You are saving it to the device.
I'm done. You're pointlessly arguing semantics after being continually wrong. Have a good day :)
Ummm, some of us still use desktop applications that require saving all the time. I get that you millennials love all your online apps but not everything can be done online. Or, more accurately, done well. Sure, we don't save to floppy disks but the concept of saving a file has not gone away, nor will it anytime soon.
You realize millennials are up to 36 years old and grew up using floppy disks, right?
I agree with your point, by the way. And saving can also be used instead of "uploading" like Google Docs does.
Even online there are apps that require you to save your progress… Saving still exists.
Yes it does. I'm sorry but I don't understand the point you're trying to make.
Na I think we all pretty clearly get what you mean. And we think you're wrong.
Oh, so you're speaking for everyone now? I'll make a note so that I don't forget.
...written below in comments.
Oh, so you're speaking for everyone now?
I think you should heed your own advice which would reveal to you the credibility in my statement. I'm not speaking for everyone. They've already spoken; I'm just reiterating since you don't seem to be comprehending the comments and the upvotes accompanied with those comments.
I don't fully agree with this. You're taking a hardline stance that saving as a concept is irrelevant across the board, which seems to be based solely off your personal experience with touch screen experiences. I do agree that the concept of saving is irrelevant for certain applications, but there are so many other types of experiences where saving is not only expected behavior, but a requirement. The world of software is much bigger than touch screen applications, and I don't think it's fair to make a wholesale assumption like this.
My point with touchscreens in general was to contrast it with floppies – they're generations apart. But more importantly to show how interfaces evolved from the times of floppies to now and how they mostly dropped saving as a concept. If you look at the trend over the years, hopefully, we won't be forced to hit ⌘S all the time.
You keep repeating yourself. Can you actually list the application you're referencing when you say they've "dropped saving as a concept" so we know what you're talking about?
I'd bet that autosaving is still in a minority when it comes to keeping changes in a website (perhaps not so much in apps).
I know what you are getting at.
- Apps should be saving in the background
- Undo should be there for the user
For the example of material design, of course, they need it because they need to support all kinds of potential apps that will use their design framework.
Another aspect to this is that there are still users who feel the need to save. They don't trust the UI. This can be remedied by notifying the user of the status (Think gmail, saved as draft)
Apps should be saving in the background
Yeah we tried that, it with OS X, it was AWFUL.
That’s simply not true. Removing the save action works for many apps and scenarios where it’s easy to autosave or constantly sync with a server, but there are many situations where save is needed — like when the save action is destructive, or when it means saving a huge amount of data and should happen when the customer decides to save (not automated on a schedule).
There is a very good reason why pro apps like Logic and Photoshop sill have Save and Save As, rather than a timed autosave.
The whole notion of 'saving' is flawed and doesn't make sense anymore.
Would be interested to hear if you think this is a valid thought for an older audience, say 55+?
You've articulated some kind of response in these comments, but you're only giving a very narrow-minded opinion, whereas UX requires actually looking at your audience and testing what works best for their experience.
No one seems to complain about a cog for settings but I've never used an actual cog to do anything in my entire life that remotely resembles "changing my settings."
it's 2018 and we're still tweeting with a quill pen.
Phone's don't have dail circles anymore.
Film cameras don't have giant rolls of film on top anymore.
Who the hell uses an hourglass?
Who here has a microphone that looks like a pill on a stand?
They're ICONS though. Meaning they're associated with certain things. Or represent certain actions.
And emails are still associated with an envelope.
This is true for a lot of icons though, I bet your mobile phone doesn't have a separate horn, but still uses that to indicate a call.
Errrr...backwards compatibility, anyone? 80% of the Material icons are obsolete for every day users...BUT...in case you need an icon for this rare functionality called "Save"
...here you go!
fun fact: Right next to your oldschool floppy disc icon is another icon called save_alt :D
I think the fact it's actually a floppy disc has become totally irrelevant, as in most young-ens just see a save icon... so now it's just a save icon
… or how a phone receiver represents "phone," but a good portion of people grew up with a thin, rectangular computer that can make and receive voice calls as their definition of phone. But, you know, phone.
I understand your take on this but what's with the negativity?
What do you use in scenarios where you have to show that something can be saved? I mean, it's not like you've provided a better solution to or anything ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Agreed, my tone was harsh and I was impulsive after seeing this.
Saving makes no sense anymore, when was the last time anyone had to save anything on mobile (maybe a draft email, that is done via canceling/closing). Everything I design supports autosave and in my view that's the way forward
The whole notion of saving is flawed. When you write something down IRL, it's already there, it's saved. When you make any changes to the real world they're instantly applied. Saving brings an additional level of abstraction and complexity, it should be omitted.
I understand why it exists, not getting into it, but it's time to move on.
The user should have the option. If I'm coding something up, I don't want it autosaving because I have a script that reloads my local development site every time I save. If I haven't finished writing the code I'm working on and it autosaves, I'll just get a screen of errors.
Gotta admit though, I'm going off topic. I see where you're coming from and it's opened up a bit of a discussion at work haha. My colleagues are now saying "Why stop there? Let's change the phone icon" and "save_alt looks more like a download button"
So in this particular case you need a 'Reload' control instead of 'Save'?
Obviously, I get your point. Yet most of desktop systems are built around an outdated concept and can't function otherwise. It's time to think beyond.
Ok, my colleagues are getting angry now haha.
Side note: Couldn't use a 'reload' button. If I'm coding in Atom, I want to save the file to the codebase. I don't want Atom to reload, I want Chrome to reload.
Me, and likely millions, if not billions of people still save documents, photos and other files. I'm still not sure what your point is?
My point is that the conceptual model behind 'saving' is outdated and broken.
The modern alternative is autosave, history and version control.
From a development perspective, autosave isn't always the best solution.
Take any basic CRUD application. When you're updating a resource, you'd likely do it via a modal or a separate card screen on a native app. Without the 'Save' button to complete the interaction, the user would just close the modal/swipe back without feeling like anything has been applied.
I definitely agree that sometimes saving isn't ideal, but you're applying narrow logic to a widespread topic without thinking about it from all angles.
I think we're conflating 'Save' and 'Submit' here, and there's clear distinction between the two.
I don't think there is.
You're updating - saving changes - to an existing resource.
Submit would be more appropriate for creating a new resource.
It really isn't.
You're constantly contradicting any point I make. Could you go deeper into reasons to support your point?
I really don't need to go deeper into the point that people still need to save things. I'm contradicting you because what you are saying doesn't make sense.
Material UI is for web and desktop, too.
Autosave is fine, but if you do any user testing of your product you'll find a lot of people who get confused / concerned about ensuring their work is saved - particularly if you live in a country where internet is unstable. Having an explicit save button is invaluable for reassuring your users.
Saving makes no sense anymore, when was the last time anyone had to save anything on mobile (maybe a draft email, that is done via canceling/closing).
Pretty sure every time I take a screenshot on my phone, I'm prompted with, "Save to Photos?" iPhoneX... I'd say that's pretty current mobile device still using the concept of 'Save.' But hey, let's continuously argue moot points while presenting no viable solution.
Saving makes no sense anymore, when was the last time anyone had to save anything on mobile
Literally every day
Haven't we eliminated 'saving' altogether?
I must've missed the memo XD
there's a whole generation that grew up with touchscreens.
There are other generations besides your own in this world XD
You mad that the search icon is a magnifying glass too? Who has used a magnifying glass on a regular basis this century? It's about what the icon represents now not the callback to the physical manifestation that the icon is based upon. There's no logic behind the argument that we should choose a new icon because the whole point of an icon is to represent an action or object in the best way possible
It's 2018 and the English Language still uses dial as the verb for operating a phone or make a phone call to someone by choosing a particular series of numbers on the phone.
"So there's really no better analogy? "
No there isn't, it's an established metaphor, it's salient, and everyone understands what clicking it does. The suggestion that it should be changed, simply because floppy disks don't exist anymore is completely ridiculous.
We're still using the floppy disk because we haven't found a better substitute.
100 years from now the icon may persist in a more abstract form and only a handful of experts will know how it came to be. This is how written language evolves.
Exactly! But probably closer to 35 years, the floppy pretty much died in the late 90s.
I feel as if there is an entire field of ideas and concepts that often get more covered as what they were intended to mean or be rather than what they actually are in a world that has passed it by.
The mail icon in emails for people who don't use the post anymore, the phone icon, the video camera icon in FaceTime and camera apps, camera icons themselves. Is it skeuomorphism anymore if the skeuomorphic product completely destroys the existence of the thing that icon was designed after and now that icon represents a concept rather than an object?
Floppy disks didn't die in the 90's, although usage was decreasing. Companies like Kodak were selling cameras using 3.5" disks as late as 2002 - you'd probably say the early 00's was when floppies "died".
In saying that, it would surprise many people here at how many industries still rely on floppies for outdated proprietary machines.
Wish I could downvote this negativity.
Then start a thread on a design subreddit and see how that goes. Downvoting isn't some miraculous answer to everything on the internet.
Don't fix something that ain't broken
" I personally don't use [this thing] therefore no one else in human society must use it either! "
Fair point, but do you have any solutions you would propose? Any shared affordances or mental models that people might have developed?
In reference to one of the discussions in here, instant saving is still something very new to people. Seeing the save explicitly happen creates a security for the user and assures them. I work with teachers and students, and even though we instantly save, and have informed the users, having an explicit "saving..." state almost always tests better. A little off topic of the icon case, but having a save function, at least for now, is still very valuable. Of course after a while products needs to dictate this change and press through the discomfort and feedback, knowing when and where to remove it is difficult. It's a gradual change like anything else.
inbox, calendar, explore, date, phone/call, video, vpn key, send, attach file, folder... all of these have icon analogies that are even more outdated than a floppy disc.
'Search' is pretty apt as well. Who has a magnifying glass to go through their papers?
WHAT IS PAPER?
My apologies - the 'Document' icon
An icon is only as good the meaning that is assigned to it and learned. In this case, the association of a disk may seem irrelevant, but the meaning — even to those that have not ever used a disk, is likely understood from learned behavior.
So is it a problem? I've never done usability testing on anything with a save function.
Seems like this thread is also conflating the UX feature of autosave vs save, and the icon used to communicate that function (title of the thread.)
"Haven't we eliminated 'saving' altogether?" -- Uh, no? Not on touch-based devices.
Only on extremely dumbed down phone and tablet apps. Not in real software you operate with a keyboard
Does it matter? Who cares what it represents other than save. Everyone else uses it so it's no longer some storage format. Nor is it some past storage format anymore. It is the universal icon for save. :) This is similar to the Heart (♥️) icon being the standard for love despite having no normal real connected object. (Supposedly it is something about butts? lol) Does it need to represent anything else?
This week we said to one of our interns: "Click on the floppy" She asked: "What's a floppy?"
I agree it's time to retire this icon.
What's a click?
I think referring to the icon by it's source material instead of it's function was the actual issue in your described interaction.
If the save icon was being developed for the first time in 2018 using a floppy disk would not make sense. My opinion on this isn't that people recognize the stylized object or understand its historical reference, it's the people have come to associate a square with a corner missing with another shape (mostly a rectangle) in the middle as the way to commit the current state of the document into storage.
To play a video you click the triangle; square to stop; two rectangles to pause. These are just shapes that now have an attached meaning when seen in context. I don't see the save icon being interpreted any differently.
Well... you said "click on the FLOPPY"
I'm fascinated by this debate and I believe both sides are right. Over time, icons are accepted and understood by people to represent things long after the physical counterpart is gone, such as floppies. Why fix what isn't broken?
That said, I think as designers it's fine to challenge the status quo … "We've always done it this way" isn't always a good thing.
BTW, the last Apple device with a floppy drive was released over 20 years ago. iMac G3 was the first to drop it in 1998.
I feel like the floppy disc 'save' icon is interchangeable with the 'download' icon in most regards. But then again, I'm always designing web applications, so it might be different for local apps.
On professional level save function is going to exist. It's impossible to just close after effects in the middle of the production. There's no such thing. If I'm creating a content controlled by me, I'd like to have the save controlled by myself too.
Also, I've noticed that you're defending the article with your whole dear life. Chill, it's just a floppy disk. Maybe instead of focusing your attention here, why don't you do a short research on floppy disks and old diskette hardwares. Have you ever heard a thing datasette? or a4 sized floppy disks? I mean go and get inspired! Be a designer!
Visual communication doesn't always directly relate to current relevance.
Most people don't use phone headsets anymore, but we still know what it means when we see it. Being clever and new doesn't always translate ...
Does this baby have ass rain? Is it bleeding? Is the mom throwing it away?
What might be an alternative (to save/floppy) that users universally would understand?
I still use the save icon as my avatar, it's very distinctive. Ditto what others have mention, no point reinventing the wheel. I see many attempts trying to on the new save icon, looks either like download or no clue what it means.
I've always liked save icons that are basically arrows going into a box, although I guess that doubles as a "download"style icon too. Would be hard to replace the epic floppy disk though!!