Tell It Like It Is - Action Button in the UI by Moira Ashleigh

Posted on July 30, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Red Admiral on Butttonbush
Red Admiral on Butttonbush, Horn Pond, Woburn, MA

Moving out of the dark ages of mysterious software, we come to a time when users without programming training outnumber those with it.

For the user, it is extremely frustrating to click an action button and find it doing something other than what they thought it would do. Therefore it makes sense to be clear when we add action buttons to our user interfaces.

Instead of "Submit", when we mean register or upload a document, I propose we say "Register" or "Upload document". This is very clear and prevents any hesitation or misconception about the purpose of the button. We allow the user to feel confident, which means they have a good user experience. That is a win for us!

When we say what an action button actually does, then the user knows what to choose. It is a simple remedy that has added benefits. There will be less need for extra text around the buttons and less need for FAQ's to get lost in, help files to navigate, and probably fewer client support calls as well.

Always be clear with the user and they will be happier.

If you have hit the block of thinking "submit" is clear, try asking these questions: What is actually being submitted? Where is it submitting? And what does the submitting accomplish? Those should give you the insight you need to make the action buttons in your user interface more user friendly.

Button mantra: Tell it like it is.

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