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Has research been done on where the most "expected" location for the submit or primary action button would be in a form? I'd clearly assume at the bottom of the form, but what about it's alignment? is it left? right? aligned with the left side of the last input?

Also, are there different expectations under separate circumstances? What would those circumstances be?

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    Anecdotally, my experience seems to be that the buttons for form actions - whether submit or cancel or whatever, are at the bottom of the form, aligned right, with the right edge of the form fields. Most common seems to be submit to the left of cancel, but it's not by any means universal. – Jeff Zeitlin Jul 17 '18 at 18:34
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There is no research backed preferred placement for buttons. A similar debate surrounds the question whether a call to action needs to be a certain colour. In the case of the CTA button, it is all about contrast. In the case of your button placement, it is all about consistency.

If your product uses all primary buttons to the right (submit, continue and such), then do that everywhere. Users don't expect a certain spot for actions until you have built that pattern for them in your product.

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Apart from Familiarity and consistency, it depends on a couple of other factors. So, first of all, make sure you're consistent with the platform guidelines and the rest of your design, this makes your job easier. Your users will expect the button where you tell them to expect it. Second, here are a few questions you should ask -

  • What is the length of the form?
  • Is the user supposed to fill the entire form or can they fill a few fields and skip (example an edit form).
  • Is the form divided into the parts? (i.e. are there next and previous buttons?)

If it's a long, empty form, you probably want to put it at the bottom, a good idea is to make the form stick/pop once the user reaches the final field. You can also try something like amazon's checkout page where the button both at the bottom and at the top.

If the form is already filled or can be skipped, then the submit button should be somewhere at the top so the user won't have to scroll to the bottom to find the button.

If there are Next and previous buttons then focus on consistency with the previous screens.

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"Large Windows & Forms get the button on the bottom left. Small Windows & Dialogues get the button on the bottom right."

"...be consistent internally in your user experience... The rule there would be "primary action on the edge, secondary on the inside." And if you put the primary action in the middle (common now on mobile) or even edge-to-edge, secondary action would go below (rather the inverse of the first rule). In a grand sense, the rules are arbitrary... as styles change, so do user expectations." - Taj Moore

This was an old post discussing this question. I'm sure new rules apply today but thought I'd share some old insights that might be useful or spark constructive discussion.

Submit Buttons on the Left or the Right?

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I suppose it's a question of familiarity and consistency. Familiarity says at the bottom of a form, either left or right aligned; and consistency says in the same place compared to other forms in your system.

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