by anthony on 01/05/11 at 10:27 pm
When you see a ‘Submit’ button on a form, what comes to your mind? One could reason that clicking the button submits the user’s information into the system for processing. A ‘Submit’ button describes what the system does well, but it doesn’t describe what the user does at all. When users fill out a form, they’re doing a task. The action button should affirm what that task is, so that users know exactly what happens when they click that button. The more clear your form is, the more you’ll get users to complete it.
A form button that says ‘Submit’ gives users the impression that the form isn’t focused on a specific task. It also gives off the impression that your website isn’t user-friendly because you’re speaking in a technical way that most users aren’t familiar with. If this is the impression users get when they fill out your form, you can bet that you’re losing a few users on your form.
Your form button should describe exactly what the user is doing in their task. For example, if they’re signing up for an account, a button that says ‘Create Account’ tells users that clicking the action button creates an account. It’s clear and specific to the task. If the button had said ‘Submit’, users could question what happens when they click the form button. This creates a level of uncertainty for users that designers can avoid by simply using a button label that describes the result of the user’s task.
‘Submit’ buttons still exist on forms today. The good thing is that fixing them is simple. It requires nothing more than labeling your buttons with a task-specific action. It might not seem like a huge difference at first, but when you find that more users are completing your form, you’ll know that users respond best to task-specific buttons.