Inline Edit: changing focus cancels edit?

Allison Bloodworth abloodworth at
Thu Jul 3 14:02:45 UTC 2008

Sorry about the delayed response, but I agree with Daphne. :)

Re: Antranig's suggestion, we may want to do some more thinking (and  
perhaps storyboarding) about what happens when there are explicit  
"Save" and "Canel" buttons and a user clicks outside the field. I will  
add that to our design questions for Inline edit. My initial thought  
is that if explicit save is there, they should have to press it to  
save a change. The reason the save button is there is to make sure the  
user indicates they definitely want the changes they have made before  

If anyone can think of a context where it would help for the action  
(save or cancel) which occurs when the user clicks out of the field to  
be configurable, definitely let us know. (Again my initial thought is  
that if there wasn't a need to press the button to save, they would  
just the use regular inline edit with no buttons.)

Also, I agree with Eli, +1 for <Esc> for cancel. It's sort of  
progressive enhancement if someone happens to know about it, and the  
likelihood of it hurting someone who doesn't is very low (e.g. how  
often do you press 'esc' when editing?).


On Jun 25, 2008, at 11:17 AM, Eli Cochran wrote:

> +1 for supporting <Esc> for Cancel. It's a bit nerdy and a lot users  
> won't know to do it. But there is some precedent for it.
> - Eli
> On Jun 25, 2008, at 10:07 AM, antranig at wrote:
>> Here is my view -
>> If there are no visible explicit controls for Save/Cancel for the  
>> individual
>> field, focusing away from the field should commit the edit and not  
>> cancel it.
>> If there are visible controls, it should be configurable whether  
>> focusing
>> away leaves the field editable, or commits the edit.
>> I think the important consideration is to not easily lose the  
>> user's work,
>> which would be very irritating - and to support the primary and  
>> natural
>> use of the widget which is to actually edit the text :)
>> Hitting <enter> in a field is actually already an overloaded  
>> operation - users
>> used to Web 1.0 expect this to cause a form submission rather than  
>> just a local
>> commitment. Perhaps we should support <Esc> as a keyboard-driven  
>> cancel
>> operation, or else provide a dedicated button, rather than have  
>> cancellation
>> to be the "default function"?
>> Cheers,
>> A.
>> Quoting Michelle D'Souza <michelle.dsouza at>:
>>> To add to the question, when should a 'cancel' happen and when  
>>> should
>>> a 'save' happen.
>>> On 25-Jun-08, at 11:40 AM, Anastasia Cheetham wrote:
>>>> Hi, Allison and Daphne,
>>>> I wanted to double-check one of the interactions on the inline  
>>>> editor,
>>>> to make sure we've got it right.
>>>> The current interaction in question is this:
>>>>  The only way to save an edit is to press Enter.
>>>> i.e. if you're editing a field and you move focus away from the  
>>>> field
>>>> by pressing Tab of clicking on something else, any changes to the
>>>> field are lost.
>>>> You can experiment with this on
>>>> or
>>>> So the question is: Is it correct that tabbing away or clicking
>>>> elsewhere causes changes to be lost?
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> . . . . . . . . . . .  .  .   .    .      .         .              .                     .
> Eli Cochran
> user interaction developer
> ETS, UC Berkeley

Allison Bloodworth
Senior User Interaction Designer
Educational Technology Services
University of California, Berkeley
(415) 377-8243
abloodworth at

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