The Death of the Save Icon

I noticed something strange the other day. In my text editor the icon for saving the document looks like floppy disc. A floppy disc?! I can't remember the last time I used a floppy disc. That's so last millennium. Do people still use them? As far as I know computers don't even ship with floppy drives anymore. Just out of curiosity I had to check some other programs to see what icon the use for saving. All the programs I checked, including MSOffice, OpenOffice, Adobe Reader (although their icon looks more like a zip disc), Google Skethup and GIMP, had a floppy disc as their save icon. The only exception I found was jEdit which used a pencil.

Since we don't use floppy discs anymore we need to come up with a better icon for saving. The floppy disc used to be a good symbol but in a few years it will just be confusing as people will have forgotten what it is. The question is then what icon to use. I certainly don't know. And perhaps it's not even the right question to ask. Maybe we shouldn't be saving things anymore at all. At least not manually. What if the text editor automatically synchronized the copy of the text document in memory with that on the disc? This is already happening to some extent with automatic saves but I think it could (and should) be taken much further.

But is it possible to completely eliminate manual saving? Probably no. I often download PDF documents which end up in the browser cache when I view them for the first time. But sometimes I want to save a copy of the document in some specific place on my hard drive. Then I really want to save manually. Or perhaps copying is a better word for it. Anyhow it will need an icon and the floppy disc icon is outdated. So, all graphics designers out there, I'm waiting for a better save icon!

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