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5 Tips To Select The Right Button Labels

August 18, 2019 |
Blog, Brand & Identity, SEO, Technology, UX
Button Labels

Designing a website is not just about making it look visually appealing; there’s a lot more to it. One of the most critical aspects of developing a successful website is to give due importance to the copy and button labels. What your buttons say is as vital as they look. No matter how pretty and attractive your buttons look, if you choose incorrect words to describe them, it may all go wrong.

Incorrect button labels can confuse the users, making it hard for them to take the desired actions. It also reduces the speed at which the actions are performed. If you wish to simplify the process of taking actions on your app, you need to choose the right words on your button labels. So how do you do that? Here are some pro tips to get your words right.

1. Use Action Verbs Instead Of Simple Words

The one thing that you want your buttons to do is encouraging users to take actions. Thus, button labels should be inspiring, and action words are the best for the same. An action verb on a button makes users aware of the action which will be performed upon clicking on it. There’s no need for additional text along with an action verb to guide the user.

Let’s take an example of generic “yes/no” button labels, which are often used on confirmation screens. Users have to read the dialogue before they can take action. They can’t take action without reading the message, and there’s every possibility that they press the wrong button. If the button label is replaced by an action verb like ‘save’ instead of ‘yes’, the user clearly gets the action message without any supporting information. It saves time and allows them to make quick, correct actions.

2. Use Clear Verbiage in Button Labels

Each action verb you use has a specific connotation. If your verbiage is unclear or isn’t precise, you may confuse users about the real action attached to the button. For example, the words ‘delete’ and ‘remove’ are very close in their meanings, but different in their intentions. ‘Delete’ implies the item will be erased completely from the system or the memory. On the other hand, ‘remove’ means that the button will separate the item from a particular group. Using these words in the wrong context can make the users press the button to initiate an action they don’t want.

Another example could be of a playlist of songs, using ‘delete’ instead of ‘remove’ is incorrect. The ‘delete’ label makes the users think that the song will be erased completely, from the system memory as well, whereas that’s not the case. The song will be removed from a particular group of songs. That’s why ‘remove’ is the more apt and correct label.

Read More About Designing The CTA Buttons: Tips To Design Buttons on a Site

3. Language Must Be Task-specific

Button labels must be clear, precise and specific. A vague and generic button label causes uncertainty and users feel unsure of the actions that they are about to take. They don’t have a clear idea about what the button will do, because the words used on the label are not specific. Using a task-specific language ensures that the users are aware of the results of their actions.

For example, the word “submit” and the word “publish” may seem to perform the same action. However, ‘submit’ is a commonly used, generic, technical term. But if you wish to make the button more specific, you should use a word about the actual result of the action.

Like ‘publish’ is a specific button label with regards to online publishing. ‘Submit’ can also work very well here, but ‘publish’ informs the user explicitly that the item will not only be submitted but would be broadcasted too. This button label is more precise and gives users certainty to act.

4. Use Active Imperative Form

You should aim to use as fewer words on a button label as you can. More words make users read more, which slows down the action process. Use of imperative form in an active voice minimizes the number of words, and the button label becomes more natural to scan.

The active imperative form turns verb phrases into commands. The subject and unnecessary articles can be dropped off using the active imperative form, to get a concise button label. All you need to include on your button label is a verb with an adverb or direct object.

Users trust and understand commands on button labels. It gives them certainty and clarity about the intended action, which aids their decision-making. Let’s take an example of “click here for more details” in a button label. The label is too wordy, and it’s also redundant for the user. Instead, use verbs that are unique, describe the action and provoke users to click. ‘Read details’ is a suitable replacement for the label mentioned above. 

5. Button Labels Should Be In Sentence-case

The capitalization style of your button label expresses your tone to users. It’s more about how you’re saying it, rather than what you’re saying. The tone of your message and interaction with users creates an emotional reaction in users. This reaction will either repel them or motivate them to engage with you actively.

The perks of a sentence-style capitalization are many. It conveys a friendly tone, comforts the users, and invites them to press the button. Most of the reading done by humans is in sentence case. They are familiar with it, so when they read it on your buttons, they feel like someone is really speaking to them, in a natural voice. 

Title case breaks the natural reading flow and distracts users from the underlying message. Additionally, unnecessary capitalization is considered rude in some cultures, hence giving you more reasons to avoid it. 

The call to action buttons is imperative for the success of your website. Words on your button labels play a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of the CTAs. If you choose the wrong words on your button labels, the call to action won’t matter. Want to get more action on your buttons? Talk to our design champs now!

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