I have a situation in my current design. The application I'm looking at has four vertical sections which are continual, i.e. completing section 1 leads to 2 and so on. Now, section one has two steps. The user fills in the step one of section two, says continue and the user is taken to step two. After completing step two of section one as well, he should go to the section two.

In this tricky situation, what button titles should I give to the following: 1. Button that takes the user to next step within a section 2. Button that takes the user to the next section

Please let me know your thoughts!

  • Should "The user fills in the step one of section two" be "...section one"? – TripeHound Aug 9 '18 at 10:25
  • The answers below are on the right track but could you clarify for us, is your UI split into sections (information architecture) or when you say vertical slice, your referring to the forms being on different pages/routes/states (site architecture). Then my next question is, does the form in step 1, affect step 2 and so on? – Bromox Aug 9 '18 at 12:19

Examine the way you segment your forms.

If you are struggling to name the button that takes the user to the next step then they will probably be struggling to understand it too.

Does the segmentation you are using have any value to the user?

Is there any value for the user in seeing a difference between part A and B of section 1? Is there any value for the user in seeing the difference between part B of section 1 and part A of section 2? Is there any value for the user in being able to distinguish part transitions from section transitions?

If there is no value to the user in seeing the difference then you don't need to show a difference.

If there IS value to the user in seeing a difference then you might want to consider a different way of structuring your pages so that the name of the button becomes unimportant.

  • Wise words. I think OP needs to either adopt a multi-stage approach (where only one "section" is shown at a time, and next/prev etc. navigate through this) or turn the two parts of section one into separate sections. – TripeHound Aug 9 '18 at 10:28

Why not just name the buttons 'next section' and 'next step'?

Also. Like Andrew mentioned analyze your process. Are the steps significantly different enough to warrant different terms? If you're just filling out payment info it's worth simplifying the scheme E.g. if 1.1 is name etc, 1.2 is address, and 2 is payment options, just name them 1, 2, 3.

But if is about buying a customized product, you could do name/address/payment and model/performance/options as 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 instead of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.


The scenario you described is usually resolved by using 'continue' within one section, and 'continue to section X' for moving to a new section. This is usually accompanied by section 1 'collapsing' and section 2 'expanding'.

If your aim is to show users what is yet to come, you may want to investigate the use of a progress bar and separate pages per section instead. This will also have the added benefit of showing a rough estimate of time still needed to complete the process. By separating the sections into pages, you can create more focus per section.

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