If we use Back button in website inner pages should we always use the text Back all the time or we should use the title of the last page. But title of last page can be longer than Back For example

for example if I'm at Home > About us > History.html

then the title of "Back button" on History.html page should be "Back" or "About Us"

If we go for page title which is "About us" in above example, sometimes the page title can be very long , it will create problem for other elements in header. in that case is it good to use like "Product and Services" to "product..."

  • 1
    Here's an article about back buttons in mobile apps that adresses this issue: mrgan.tumblr.com/post/10492926111/labeling-the-back-button (I have to say that I don't fully agree though)
    – Phil
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 6:41
  • I actually just got rid of back buttons in our mobile websites and it will be tested next week... I'll let you know if we have to roll back ;)
    – Phil
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 6:42
  • @Phil - OK I will wait. Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 6:53
  • Regardless of the answer to this question, you should not be thinking of or calling it "Back" anyway, because browsers have a "Back" function built-in which is actuallyback to what you were just looking at”, whereas what your site provides is “up in the organization hierarchy of the site”.
    – Kevin Reid
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 10:49

6 Answers 6


A "Back" arrow (without any text) in the top-left of the page would work likely as well as a labeled button. The arrow would be very familiar to users and ought to remind them of their desktop browser's back button. Trying to label it might just confuse an otherwise simple concept for them.

Could be a good situation for a quick A/B test with a labeled and unlabeled "Back" arrow.


The Apple HIG for iOS addresses this specific point. In summary, the back button should be a name representative of the page the back button leads to.


I think the best user experience would be a back arrow followed by the previous page i.e. "<-- Home". This way the user knows the button will be taking them back AND they know which page they will land on.


For a mobile site I'm hesitant to provide in-page navigation that the browser chrome already has.

But knowing that some mobile browsers have states that don't show the chrome, my suggestion would be to go with a consistent <- Back format across all pages. This allows you to predict the amount of text that will be needed for the back navigation element on all pages, and ensure that it doesn't conflict with other elements (which can happen more often in a mobile layout). It also provides a tap-target that is big enough to hit easily with a finger. Using just an icon will likely leave you with an element too small to be reliably tapped when intended.


Using "Back" instead of the page title seems preferable to me. Precisely for the reasons you mention (lenght of page title).

Moreover, if you show breadcrumbs that indicate where you are in the site, then it becomes even more easy to understand where "Back" will take you.

  • but breadcrumb has same problem, long text. Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 9:55
  • not if the font used to render the breadcrumbs is smaller.
    – dafmetal
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 6:27

I can imagine users not really knowing what the previous page was named but they should have a clear mental image of the 'previous' page and hit back.

Breadcrumbs can be used on top of the page to show the user where they are and can function as a back action (click the previous link). A back button on the bottom of the page can help the user after they read through the page. This is all a bit dependant on the function of the webpage.

A page to fill in forms wizard style should have a clear back button.

An information website with a couple of levels should have a link to the 'previous' level.

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