How to Make Similar Button Choices Less Confusing

When choosing between several buttons, users have to read the labels and think about each action. This thinking incurs an average cognitive load. However, when two or more button choices are similar, the user’s cognitive load spikes.

Now they have to figure out the difference between those buttons. They’re debating in their head which button they should click. They’re hesitant, indecisive, and afraid to make a mistake.

For example, the buttons “Send Money” and “Transfer” have similar meanings. Both actions move the user’s money from their account, so it’s not clear what the difference is. The user needs more than just button labels to tell them apart.

An easy way to clear up their confusion is to use icon-dominant buttons. This approach allows users to differentiate the actions visually when the labels have a similar meaning. But for this approach to work, it’s crucial to choose icons that accurately represent an action’s distinct difference.

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