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I'm a bit confused as to what the best way to naming buttons is. And if it needs to be consistent with the instructions (voice of one person), for instance:

Example A (one person): Are you new to the website? "Name", "Email", "Pass" [Sign up]

Example B (conversation): Are you new to the website? "Name", "Email", "Pass" [Sign me up]

Can we play it as a conversation? where the instructions come from the website founder, and the buttons are orders from the user, as in Example B.

I know that [Sign up] is pretty standard, but if I use it, I have to be consistent through out the website with other buttons. And I'm not liking the [Do this] tone in buttons, it seems pushy.

Or maybe I'm putting too much weight on this.

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Possibly of interest too: Using “Sign in” vs using “Log in”. –  jensgram Jul 8 '11 at 5:58

5 Answers 5

The language should be in context with the rest of the site - both before and after reaching the dreaded signup form.

  • If I'm signing up for banking online, I'm going to expect something like 'Register', or 'Apply'.

  • If I'm signing up to buy online at an ecommerce site, 'Sign up' suits everyone.

  • If I'm signing up for emails from a R&B artist fan site (eg Ne-Yo!) I'm very happy with 'Sign me up', especially if I get the connection...

  • If I'm signing up for a new tech service that's trying overly hard to be very casual it might be 'Sign me up right now dude'. (No really - this happens!)

My point is, the tone of the rest of your site will tell you which one to use. If there's nothing friendly and casual or conversationally engaging about the rest of the site, use 'sign up' not 'sign me up'.

If still in doubt, use 'sign up'.

By the way - I'd never actually thought of the term 'sign up' on the submit button as an instruction from the website telling me what to do. I always see it as an action that I am telling the website to do, using my details. Interesting switch, - I wonder what percentage of people think 'sign up' is a pushy instruction...

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I agree with you. The signup button is not the problem but the example for other buttons. The microcopy in Arabic sounds a bit more pushy. And the website is meant to be social for people looking to train others and get training. –  hamadmj Jul 7 '11 at 13:04

Hard to say which is the right one to use without knowing the tone of the rest of the website content. If it is more informal then Option B would make sense, but if the content isn't "playful" then I would stick with Option A.

The only other options is to do A/B testing and attempt to statistically prove which one out performs the other, though many other factors my contribute to users signing up.

Good luck and don't lose too much sleep over this one!

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Thanks Keith. It's a social platform for training courses in the Middle East. It should be somewhere between formal and playful. –  hamadmj Jul 7 '11 at 12:56

Honestly, I'd just stick with [sign up].

Users are pretty familiar with both documentation and UI terms using the 2nd person imperative (the 'Do X, do Y, do Z' voice). Not only is it familiar, but it's far shorter, too.

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"Sign me up" and other copy written "from users standpoint" sounds overly enthusiastic to me. A bit like "shut up and take my money" kind of thing.

Users might not feel all that crazy about the conversion (in fact they might be in the process of exploring all the pros and cons). They might not know if the sign up will benefit them yet.

So if you put it there (and you'll have to put it everywhere for consistency, eg not "Click here" but "Get me there" etc), the whole site/app copy compound may come off as a trifle too much, if not arrogant.

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The WYLTIWLT Method - Avoid the Complication of the "Who"

Other answers suggest that you should be consistent with the tone of they rest of your site, but your problem isn't about tone, it's about grammar. If you decide to use the "Sign me up" verison, referring to the "who" of the interaction, and try to be consistent with that everywhere in your site, you're going to run into issues at some point.

"Would you like to?/I would like to" is excellent practical way of avoiding the grammitacal inconsistencies of the type you are concerned about.

WYLTIWLT is pronounced wilty wilt and is proposed in the excellent UX Booth article about the Grammar of Interactivity.

The essential problem is how to deal with the "who" of the interaction, and the WYLTIWLT method solves it like this:

For any label, ask if it fits on the end of question/statement: "Would you like to?/I would like to".

In your case, Sign Me Up Vs Sign Up:

Would you like to sign me up? I would like to sign me up Doesn't work.

Would you like to sign up? I would like to sign up. Works!

I use this all the time and it works a treat.

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