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Username
-----------------------
|_____________________|

Password
-----------------------
|_____________________|

 .------.
| Submit |
 '------'

When designing forms, do you customize the text in the submit button? In the registration example above, would you leave the submit button with the default "submit" text or would you choose an alternative?

  • Register
  • Join
  • OK
  • Go

On other forms such as login, purchasing, updating account, how do you choose the right submission action word? Or do you think it doesn't matter?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I try always to relate the button with the action that it's being performed, specially if it is a long form. Some calls to action are very generic (OK and Go) and it can cause confusion for users, eg: "Am I really saving this document?"

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A perfect example of this is Apple's don't save button. Windows 7 has emulated this feature - most of us ignore what the text says anyways, so telling us the important information on the button is something that makes us happy. Like the button to the right of the box I'm typing in now that says "Add Comment" –  Wayne Werner Oct 21 '11 at 15:44
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For a bondage forum, Submit is probably the perfect label. In general, you may want to tailor the label to be consistent with other terminology in the user interface. When in doubt, take your best guess and then run some usability tests.

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For our Spanish Inquisition Forum we labeled the Okay button "Confess". No one expected it. –  Ben Brocka Oct 21 '11 at 1:25
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Why does it need to be a single word? 'Submit this form' or 'Save my document' are unambiguous and perfectly describe the action being performed.

Tell the user exactly what the function of that button is as succinctly and accurately as possible. While you might be able to achieve this with a single term (i.e. 'Search') there is nothing stopping you from using more than one word.

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Try to match the user's goal. What is the user's motivation for filling in this form? Everyone hates forms, so what is the user hoping to get in return for this arduous task? Access to content? The ability to post messages? Saving preferences?

In your example OK and Go are probably too generic, and Join and Register are probably best, but think further about what the user expects to gain from completing this form.

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I think it depends on whether this form is strictly for registration or whether it's a login form. Normally, if it was registration, you'd have a password verification field where users entered their choice again. I think Luiz makes a good point about labels being descriptive of the action, but these kind of forms can be a little finicky.

For example, if it was a newsletter, you might use 'sign up' but with a member organization, 'join' so often, while it is kind of generic, 'submit' works pretty well because the user is submitting the form.

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Which is the main action? Register? Log in? Check out?, then use it. Always have to be an "action-word".

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The specific term is a "Call to Action" –  Ben Brocka Nov 11 '11 at 20:23
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