Should expand/collapse cause a Save dialog?

Filed Under Mindjet


April 5, 2006

A smooth user experience is the result of relentless attention to many small details. Here’s one that’s being discussed right now at Mindjet:

When you open a map in MindManager 6, and expand or collapse some topics in order to see what’s there, and you close the map again, you get a "Save changes?" dialog. We’re considering changing this so that if all you do is expand or collapse, and then close the map, the Save Changes dialog would not appear; that is, the expand/collapse info would not be saved. Essentially, we’d be treating expand/collapse as "view" information, like scroll and zoom.

You’d still get the dialog if you made a more substantial change (like editing a topic), and expand/collapse info would still be saved whenever you saved the map. So to save a particular expand/collapse state, you’d simply save the document manually before closing the window, instead of having the system prompt you to do it.

The benefit is that if you’re "just looking", you avoid a dialog, and you don’t have to wonder if you’ve made a change without realizing it. The drawback is that you might sometimes forget to save the map with the expand/collapse layout you wanted. (Remember, this would happen only if you had made no other changes.)

What do you think about this proposal? Does it depend on the kind of map you’re dealing with, or what you’re using it for? We’re also considering a user-settable option for this behavior, but whether that happens or not, we still need to make the right decision regarding the factory setting.

If you feel strongly one way or another, please speak up!

14 Responses to “Should expand/collapse cause a Save dialog?”

  1. Craig

    I don’t really care for expanding/collapsing causing a save dialog. I can see where other’s might. I think making it a setting is the way to go.

  2. Bernhard Straub

    To me the current behaviour creates too many versions (when I see that the map is “changed” I save to make sure nothing’s lost). I often use F3 to focus on a topic I need but that change of view is nothing I would want to save. So my wish would be to avoid the dialog by default and have an option to change this behaviour for users who work differently.

  3. Bilal Succar

    I agree with the initial proposition by the product designer. It makes perfect sense to me. Thank you for attending to such usability issues.

  4. Gary Nicol

    I personally would prefer no dialog, but making it configurable keeps everyone happy.

  5. Stephen

    I’m thinking a changeable configuration in the ‘options’ would be the best bet. Some want it… some don’t. Let the user decide.

  6. Bill Riski

    I agree with your proposed chages. To summarize:
    – Default is not to save if only expanding and collapsing was done (view/detail/show level x or toggle detail)
    – Include user option behaviour to change to ‘always save, including level of detail’

  7. Michael Roberts

    Make it configurable – personally, I would prefer no dialog unless I change a topic’s content in some way (text, attachment, hyperlink, etc.) or the properties of the mindmap itself (background, layout, etc.).

    But I can see why others might prefer a lower threshold for prompting.


  8. Rebecca

    My 2 penneth (that GBP 0.02) is that the dialog to save changes is an annoyance, so I approve of the suggested change. If I specifically want a particular layout I will save it.

    In response to Gerd’s contribution, I would think that moving topics would constitute a change.

    Keep up the keyboard accessibility, guys. It’s the major reason I invested in MindManager over other mapping software.


  9. Gerd Klima

    just my USD 0.02:
    Personally, I would love to see this change.

    Quite contrary to a comment before mine, I’d also include moving topics and filters to the actions not initiating a save dialog; converting a connected topic into a floating one e.g. should be a change that needs to be considered.

    Making behaviour configurable is never a bad decision 😉

  10. Stephan

    My 2 cents:

    + What about dragging topics around? This also changes only the view of the map… But I would strongly disagree to exclude this map change of the save-changes rule.

    + What about filters? They also change only the view of the map… But I would strongly disagree to exclude them out of the save-changes rule.

    So, what is the difference between expand/collapse on one hand and the above two items on the other hand to justify such a UI change?

  11. Mike Dillamore

    Where MindManager is used to give presentations, changes to layout can be as important as changes to content. I would therefore want expand or collapse of topics to be flagged up as a change. Would anyone argue that hiding a slide in PowerPoint constituted a change to the presentation?

  12. Colin

    I agree you should make the change. Users often inadvertently produce multiple copies of the same map …(2)(2) etc., and the current functionality contributes to this

  13. Jason

    I do not think that you should offer a dialog for saving just layout changes. However, adding a user configurable option to automatically save layout changes might do the trick.

    In other words, I believe that most people will either prefer to have layouts always saved (even if data did not change), or always left alone. This would avoid the dialog, and still let people that have set it to “never save automatically” to manually save before exiting.

  14. Luciano Passuello

    I strongly agree with removing the dialog in this case. It is indeed confusing.

    In general, you should be looking at the functionality present in MindManager Viewer, and make sure that none of that functionality causes a Save in the full version.