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Stupid Usability #70

Saving me from the Save

Written By: High Monkey
Posted: 9/22/2014

From the mind of Virgil Carroll, Principal Human Solution Architect at High Monkey:

One problem I run into every so often is the need for a portable scanner.  Where I could probably purchase one…we are talking about probably no more than 5-10 times per year that this type of hardware would really be useful for me on the road.  Where that does not make it a compelling purchase, it is equally a pain NOT to have one and have to rely on the nearest FEDEX Kinkos or such to meet my needs.  A few months ago I ran into the problem and decided to investigate whether there was an APP for my iPhone that acted like a scanner.  Without much surprise I found many.  I took a look at the functionality and reviews and I settled on the one that I felt met my needs to best, an APP called Scanner.  This is where my stupid usability post starts.

When using Scanner about a week ago to scan some drawings I did for my designer, I ran into a very stupid usability issue that I needed to share.  To start the scan process, you must first take a picture of the item you want to turn into a scan.  After you have completed that, you are presented with a screen such as the one below.  Here you can see a list of all the ‘scans’ you have done and edit each.

Since this particular need included scanning many pages that looked similar, I decided to change the name of each scan to be more descriptive. (the default is the date and time)  After I completed the task I looked at the screen above and realized that only a couple of my scans had actually changed to the new name.  Since I thought I might of done something wrong, I selected one of the wrong scans to edit it again.

When you enter this screen you need to select Edit and you see a prompt to change the same of the scan plus actually do some basic quality editing.

The interesting part of this is the two links at the top of the screen around the name edit field: ‘Save’ and ‘Done’.  Where when I first started using the APP I was not sure why the vendor had provided two links to push to save my changes, this was the first time I realize I was actually wrong.  If you want to save your change, you need to select the ‘Done’ link.  If you want to go back to the previous screen (where I selected to edit to item) you select the ‘Save’ link….say what???  Yes what I realized the vendor was trying to do was provide some limited breadcrumb functionality for users to get back to the previous screen.  The stupid usability issue that was created was using the word ‘Save’ where even a person who is as tech savvy as me would naturally assume meant it was saving my changes.  Go figure.
This brings up a good usability point as we often name things in technology (whether it be buttons, links, pages, documents, etc.) according to our own logic, not considering how external users might interpret what we meant.  The vendor of the Scanner APP could fix this issue very quickly by making a very quick name change from ‘Save’ to ‘Back’.  Here ends the lesson.

Chad's Bio Coming Soon!

More About Virgil

Virgil Carroll is the owner and president of High Monkey – based in Minneapolis Minnesota. Virgil also wears the multiple ‘hats’ of Principle Human Solutions Architect and SharePoint Architect.

Virgil is one of those rare individuals who can dive deep into technical topics while speaking clearly to the business owners of a project and never forgetting that the end user experience has the highest priority. He calls it using both sides of his brain. Virgil is passionate about leveraging technologies ‘out of the box’ as much as possible with a focus on the strategic use of content to create websites that deliver the right content to the right audience on the right device at the right time. Virgil brings high energy, an ironic wit, and a sense of grounded perspective whenever he speaks to an audience. Virgil regularly speaks at conferences and user groups throughout the United States and occasionally in Europe.

Posted: 9/22/2014 12:00:00 AM by Brian Haukos | with 0 comments