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 easily 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 are engaging in a task. The action button should affirm what that task is, so that users know exactly what happens when they click that button. A button that describes the user’s task tells users that the form focuses on carrying out that specific task. The more focused your form is, the more likely you’ll get users to complete your form.
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 is not user-friendly because you’re speaking in a technical way that most users aren’t familiar with. If this is the impression your users get when they fill out your form, you can bet that you’re losing a few users in the process.
Your form button should describe exactly what the user is trying to do in their task. For example, if they are 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 task specific. If the button had said Submit, users would likely question what happens when they click the form button. This creates a level of uncertainty for users that designers can easily avoid simply by using a button that describes the result of the user’s task.
Although Submit buttons aren’t as prevalent as they once were, they still exist on forms today. The good thing is that fixing them is simple. It requires nothing more than labeling your button 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 forms, you’ll know that a clear and focused action button works best.