Some Random Dude — Why Redesigning the Save Icon is Important

The age or establishment of something shouldn’t preclude it from scrutiny and/or replacement. If anything, that should make us all the more eager to pull it down from its pedestal. Our job is to make things better—or at least try to do so. The Save icon is not good enough. We should try to make it better.

It's a fair point. My last computer had a floppy disc drive that I never used. I'm guessing it would be about 10 years or so since I last used one. For me, the various jobs that they did got replaced by hard drives, USB sticks, Dropbox and email.

But what does the save icon really mean? "Put this file I'm working with on a disc."

The issue isn't that the icon has become obsolete. It's that the act of saving has become obsolete. Why do you want to save?

My main tools today; nvALT — automatically saves as you go. Drafts - automatically saves as you go. Elements — automatically saves when you close a document (ie. finish working with it.) VoodooPad — I honestly don't know if this saves as you go along or just when you close; I don't recall saving. What I do do in Voodoopad (and several other applications) is export — a Voodoopad document as a set of web pages, a layered photoshop .PSD as a .PNG.

What I never think to myself is "this would be a bad time to save", or "I wish my auto save was set to every 10 minutes instead of every 5."

In a world with version control, document history (think of Photoshop's History tool), cloud storage etc. there isn't any point in saving. It should be automatic. There should never be a difference between the version of the document I'm working on in RAM and the version on disk.

More to the point, the most annoying thing in my day to day workflow isn't losing unsaved work. It's having two versions of the same document with different changes because I was working in an application that doesn't save as I go along.

So, I agree that the Save icon is overdue a rethink. But the issue isn't that it needs a different picture. It needs to be got rid of altogether.