‘Save’ us from itself!

My staple diet of Windows has made me compulsively save my work all the time. But according to Alan Cooper, managing disks and files is not a user goal. If a UI interaction is based on limitations of technology, then users have to learn a new behavior which might be counter-productive. Saving a file has no real-world metaphors and new users find it difficult to adapt themselves to this industry-wide standard.

So when I heard about the auto-save feature in latest software update for Apple devices last year, it sounded really exciting. Since then, I have been using Keynote on the iPad and have quickly got used to not saving any of my work. I didn’t miss saving my work. It didn’t ask me to save when I closed the file, and the file was there when I reopened it. (Another adapted behavior that are slowly fading away from Apple devices is not needing scrollbars).

The productivity app that I use the most at work is Powerpoint, and I wanted to find if it has auto-save. Turns out- it does!- well, sort of. But this auto save feature is hidden, complex and explained poorly.
This I think is the fundamental difference between the philosophies of the two companies. Alan Cooper describes this as implementation model vs. user model. In short, an interface should follow user goals, not the software engineer code.

Auto-save in Windows Office 2010

*The first-time user have to setup auto-save
1 File > Options
2 Save > Checkboxes (change default values)

*While working on a file, on closing the file you have to
1 Save dialog > always Choose Don’t Save

*When you want to open the file you didn’t save
2 Recent > Reset Unsaved Presentations
1.1 Crash the file

Auto-save in iOS

*The first-time user have to setup auto-save
Nothing to setup

*While working on a file, on closing the file you have to
Do nothing

*When you want to open the file you didn’t save
Files can be accessed in the Finder

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