I just have a question about the direction of the OK/Cancel (Cancel/OK) buttons with regards to an Android app.

The app I am working on contains cards with sort of a form (has a title, description and a text field). There are two buttons at the bottom of the card, an expected answer and an unexpected answer. For the direction of how these are displayed I went with what I've found was stated for Android:

"The dismissive action of a dialog is always on the left. Dismissive actions return to the user to the previous state. The affirmative actions are on the right. Affirmative actions continue progress toward the user goal that triggered the dialog."

But I guess Material design states that if it is a form the direction of the buttons should go in the other direction Expected/Unexpected.

But I am concerned, where the buttons in the dialog follow the "Cancel/OK" direction.

I should note that the alignment of these buttons are centre (not left or right aligned as seen in most material design apps)

If I follow what Material Design states: enter image description here

  • "But I guess Material design states that if it is a form the direction of the buttons should go in the other direction Expected/Unexpected." could you link where does Material design indicate this, so we can take a look at the context?
    – Alvaro
    Jan 23, 2017 at 16:10
  • material.io/guidelines/components/buttons.html#buttons-usage I found it here, it's pretty deep in there. Jan 23, 2017 at 17:43

2 Answers 2


Material design recommends placing the Affirmative on the right and Dismissive on the left.

@MilesReiter posted a link in the comments to Material design guide which states (emphasis mine):

Non-standard dialogs and modal windows

Button placement in non-standard dialogs and modal windows depends on the complexity of the content they contain.

For dialogs with relatively simple content, it is recommended to place buttons on the right side of a dialog, with the affirmative button to the right of the dismissive button.

For lengthy or complex forms, it is recommended to place buttons on the left of the form, with the affirmative button to the left of the dismissive button.

My understanding is that the affirmative button should go close to the edge the buttons are aligned to, and buttons should only be placed on the left if it is a complex form in a dialog.

In your case if the buttons are not clearly on the left, even if they are centered, I would consider them to be on the right. So the Submit on the right.

Also as @MilesReiter indicates in his answer reconsider the wording of the buttons (in my opinion the "Issue" button specially).

  • Thank you so much for clarifying this. I will place the affirmative button on the right. But I will keep that in mind for the future when buttons are aligned to either the left or right of a card.
    – MelonKitty
    Jan 23, 2017 at 20:12

It looks like that recommendation within Material design is specifically for non-standard dialogs and modal windows, or for particularly complex ones. I get the sense that for left alignment, they're picturing a large survey with many components, I definitely don't think that your Title > Description > Text Entry should be considered one of these complex scenarios, and I can't actually find an instance of Google using left alignment with reversed Affirmative/Dismissive buttons in any of their apps.

So I'd stick with Issue Submit (the affirmative on the right).

In terms of your button and alert titling, it may be useful to check out the related Material recommendations. https://material.io/guidelines/components/dialogs.html#dialogs-alerts

Specifically in terms of making sure the "Are you sure?" is specific in asking a specific question, and that the buttons are titled to reflect more natural responses. i.e. "I'm Sure" instead of "OK".

  • Thank you for your comment! I wasn't sure if what I had should be considered, but it's not complex. So I will stick with the Affirmative on the right. Also thank you pointing out the titling on the buttons. I didn't consider this, but I will look into,
    – MelonKitty
    Jan 23, 2017 at 20:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.