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Considering the following primary button in a web application:

[Wait for deadline] or [Wait for the deadline]

Are there any best practices regarding the inclusion or omission of definite and indefinite articles in button labels? Or is it one of those things that are better to be tested, such as button color?

Thank you

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  • Bit of a weird button label, no? What does it do? Sounds like an instruction rather than an action.
    – Martyn
    Commented Oct 10, 2023 at 22:00
  • It's just an example. I'm mostly curious about the practices regarding articles.
    – rluks
    Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 9:34

1 Answer 1

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I haven't come across any best practice for microcopy that includes or excludes indefinite articles. However, in general you will find that most labels for buttons and CTAs will be on the shorter side for a number of reasons.

The first is that you want the text to match very specifically to a context or action that doesn't really need much more details. So in your example, it should be very clear that the user is presented with an option that will allow them to wait for a deadline, and hence it is not necessary to specify that it is a deadline. Of course, if you are presented with a choice to wait for a deadline or wait for something else, then it will be necessary to include the extra text other than the verb.

Also, it should be clear to the user if they are going to be waiting for a particular deadline because the button will be positioned next to the object that the action is going to apply to, so the article isn't necessary in the context.

Therefore, if you combine the fact that a correctly designed button will provide the right context to the rest of the interface, and that button labels should be short to make it easily identifiable and also save screen space, you'll find that they will generally be even shorter than the examples that you provided, and will usually not have the indefinite article.

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