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Sunday, October 16, 2011

For the future generation: We need to change the look of the 'Save' button

The floppy disk icon must go away.
When was the last time you used or even saw a floppy disk? Ages ago. But even though its an obsolete item, we still use them - as a symbol to represent the 'save' action in interfaces. I agree that the symbol is familiar to the user and represents the idea of 'saving' something effectively. But that's for those of us who were born in the 80s or early 90s. But what about users who were born after say 2000. Most of them would never have used or seen a floppy disk. That floppy disk icon doesn't make sense at all to them. Many interfaces have stopped using the icon and have started using simple buttons just labeled as Save. It has always been a norm to have quick action buttons which have symbols which speak for themselves. For example the marker felt pen icon for 'highlighting text'. In a similar way, it would be great to have an icon for 'Save' as well. Something new but not the 'floppy disk' should be the face of the Save button. I thought about this and came up with three solutions. All of these would make sense to at least today's kids.

Solution 1: The down arrow button:

This one symbolizes a download. Downloads and saves are fairly related to each other. Hence, this icon would make sense.

Solution 2: The Hard Disk:

Hard disks have been and will be for the years to come, our primary storage devices. It easily conveys to the user that clicking it would save data to the disk.

Solution 3: The Thumb drive:
Thumb drives are also one of the popular mediums of storage. Even though this icon suits the 'save' button, thumb drives are also headed in the direction of floppy disks. They will eventually become obsolete.

 Future and beyond:
          There will come a day when all kinds of software interfaces will get rid of the 'save' action. Documents will be automatically saved, without the user's intervention and stashed away in to the cloud. Google docs and apps like Simplenote already do that. Cloud will be our new primary storage place. But that's a long way to go. For now, we must get rid of the virtual floppy disk icon.

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