Editor: prompts to restore/discard changes when there are no changes

  1. Starting at URL: https://wordpress.com/post/
  2. Publish a post
  3. Click <- Back
  4. Notice dialog that says “You have unsaved changes. Are you sure you want to leave this page?”

Often (but not always), immediately after publishing or updating, I see this AYS (are you sure) dialog when I attempt to navigate away from the editor via the <- Back button. Having to dismiss an unnecessary dialog is annoying, but the much bigger problem is that I can’t trust an editor that makes the save state of my content so ambiguous. One of my editor prime directives is, “Don’t AYS for unsaved changes if there aren’t unsaved changes.”

This ambiguity follows when you edit an existing post. I haven’t visited the post below in 3 years. When I open it, I get a restore unsaved changes prompt. This happens for lots of my old posts.

What am I restoring? I just want to peek the post right now, not edit it, so I click “Don’t restore”. I’ll postpone dealing with it until next time I venture to this post. After reading, I click the editor’s back button to return to my posts search and receive an unsaved changes AYS (Are You Sure). That’s an interruption on the way into the post and one on the way out. Unless I restore unseen changes, I will be twice interrupted on every visit.

Untrustable editor AYS comes up in user testing, it comes up in internal testing, yet its misbehavior endures. Here’s an anecdote from a recent user testing session.

To save or not to save: in the customizer and editor, both Lori and Mike got alerts indicating they shouldn’t leave the page they were on. This seemed surprising and confusing. In the editor, it would sometimes happen just after updating. In Customizer, the adaptive site preview gives the facade that it’s been updated, and the Save/Publish button was overlooked. Lori and Mike didn’t think their sites were “live” – neither noted the “Save & Publish” button (they didn’t see it), but I wonder what that might have told them about their site.


Also, this occasionally happens post pub and seems to correlate with triggering AYS.

#ays, #editor, #trust