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If you go to any site with content you will have social share buttons. I was wondering where would you consider the best position for social buttons.

I saw 3 approaches:

  1. bottom of the content page
  2. Top right side of the content
  3. Left side of the content that moves with the scrolling of the page

Personally i like the bottom of the page, just because the reader has to read the content first then decides if he wants to share. This is why the #2 alternative seems a bit wrong to me, forcing me to scroll to the top of the page. As for the #3 alternative i find it a bit distracting.

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Duplicate question: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/9969/… –  Mike Eng Oct 21 '11 at 14:00
    
I'd go with bottom too. See this answer: ux.stackexchange.com/a/16023/6463 –  Florian Kutschera Oct 22 '12 at 11:20
    
Does anyone actually use these buttons? I'd put in a vote for not including them at all. Here's another interesting read on the subject with some data suggesting copy the URL is the most common way to share. uxmag.com/articles/… –  user33985 Jul 28 '13 at 12:07

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

At the end of the article it is a must!

And to even more encourage sharing you can place the same share buttons somewhere in the beggining as well

  • near title, near lead text -> because a lot of users do not read the whole article through and share it becuase of the great title or great lead text!
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precisely for that I would avoid those buttons at the top, sharing something that is not worth the time, is just more entropy and wasted time for everybody. If you read the whole thing and you think it's good, share it if you want, but not before reading and considerin the whole thing. –  PatomaS Oct 23 '12 at 5:41

Personally, I would place:

  • links to your social profiles on top

  • links to share the current page at the bottom: as you mentionned, that way they can read the article and decide whether they want to share it or not


Otherwise, you could mix it: display share buttons on the side of the article once the user scrolled at least past half of the article (because you can assume he likes the article, hence it makes sense to propose to share without waiting that he finishes to read the whole thing).

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+1 for differentiating between the overall 'follow' construct for profiles and sharing of the article in context. –  jameswanless Feb 10 '11 at 19:09

I think they should live two places. First they should live at the end of the article...but I also like them on the top right or left (depending on your layout and assuming you are using a two column layout) of the article/show page. There is usually enough going on at the title of the article (date, author, comment count, etc.) so I like them offset. I've found that most of the time when I am done reading an article I scroll back to the top. I don't know why but I do.

This presents the user with the option to share at all stopping points on the page.

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+1 for considering alternatives. –  jameswanless Feb 10 '11 at 19:07

The emerging pattern appears to be; Share buttons top right and immediately under the article e.g.

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-20025624
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/us/politics/explanation-for-benghazi-attack-under-scrutiny.html

In testing I've noticed users tend to be confused between the Share and the Follow buttons. I'd suggest a brief line to explain what the user is supposed to do. e.g. "Like this? Share with friends" and "For more like this follow us on Twitter".

Hope that helps.

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I would recommend reading this article by Oliver Reichenstein of Information Architects. He discusses (in a two part article) the issues that arise with using these social share buttons.

They are very interesting and thought provoking...although I am not saying I 100% agree, but it is worth the read(s). The first article is Oliver's take on the issue and the second article is rebuttals from numerous sources.

A couple quotes from the articles:

"We find content through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest etc., not the other way around."

"If readers are too lazy to copy and paste the URL, and write a few words about your content, then it is not because you lack these magical buttons."

"In any case, what we suggested is not cutting social media off, but integrating it more selectively and consciously. To further careful social media interaction and conscious debate. This is how we think social media works."

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Could you give us a quote from the article - and this answer would be really good! Thanx :) –  Benny Skogberg Oct 22 '12 at 19:13

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