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Visual Studio 2013 uses the 'Save to multiple floppy disks' icon from long ago to represent 'Save All'

I am working on an application where I need to represent 'Save All' with an understood icon. What is a better method for representing it without losing the understanding of the difference between save and save all?

enter image description here


The context of the save is as such -

There are widgets within a page that each have their own ability to progressively 'save' information. At the top of the page there is a 'Save everything' button that should save all of the changes in the whole page.

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I was really surprised that A: this was moved from EX, and B: It was closed as off-topic over there. –  PW Kad Feb 20 at 15:57
@PWKad: Icon Request questions are off-topic on UX. - meta.ux.stackexchange.com/questions/629/… They're not really a User Experience issue as they rarely solve a problem. But a well designed icon can be useful. The motivation behind the icon and how it's designed is closer to graphic design than user experience. –  JonW Feb 20 at 16:10
It is NOT an icon request, JonW. You're overly eager to classify and pigeon hole things. See what I did there? –  Confused Feb 20 at 16:55
PW: Context means "Where is it being presented, what does it do... etc?" is it on a PC, Mac, website, tablet app, mobile phone messaging client? What is it saving? What does the application/environment normally deal in, etc etc... GIVE IT ALL CONTEXT!!! –  Confused Feb 20 at 16:58
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migrated from ux.stackexchange.com Feb 20 at 15:13

This question came from our site for user experience researchers and experts.

2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Sometimes there is no substitute for words.

When you have an action with potential confusion words are hard to beat.

Icons exist for this purpose, as you mentioned. It's typically some multiple representation of the app's save icon. I think it usually falls short of the user's needs for clarity.

Ask yourself this: Will your audience stick around for the learning curve? If they're regular users, they may prefer a key sequence anyway. For the rest, words avoid confusion.

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+100 to you, good sir! Truth. And a whole new reality within iOS. –  Confused Feb 21 at 12:22
Thanks. You're right, Apple is finally coming around to the idea that usability and cool-factor are not mutually exclusive. They still have a long way to go. –  plainclothes Feb 21 at 21:54
Their initial problem was teaching people (MILLIONS) how to use a touch screen smart device. And I think they need to be commended for having done that right. I can't think of too many other companies that would have gotten that task done in the near complete manner they have. Certainly not Microsoft. And definitely not google. Palm is the only other that might have been able to do it but lacked the money and resources to go into fullscreen touch devices fast enough and hard enough. –  Confused Feb 21 at 22:02
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The answer is yes, but... it depends on the experience of your users and anticipated users, the nature of the platform you're aiming at and the space and technologies you have to portray that icon."

And, further, this is an EVER evolving thing. So at no point in time is the answer going to be the same.

To all programmers having anything to do with this... the evolvement of the "zeitgeist of NOW" is something that's at the forefront of design. [all puns intended] If programmers cannot accept this inherent evolvement, the intuitive talents (magic) that make designing for the future an art form and the very nature of design and those attracted to it, then they should back off and leave the designers to chat amongst themselves.

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I added some additional information to my question. –  PW Kad Feb 20 at 15:56
I have removed all the comments irrelevant to the question. Further discussion about our site can take place on meta or in chat –  JohnB Feb 20 at 17:33
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