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I am designing a map-based web application with multiple small dialogue windows and have problems to decide whether to use buttons only or buttons and links as interaction elements.

In all of the windows the user can either perform one action/one step or close the window / go back. My question is:

Should I use two buttons (Primary Button & Secondary Button with visual weight on the main action) or should I use a button for the primary and a Link for the seconday action?

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2 Answers 2

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The answer is your first one: use two buttons. You shouldn't mix buttons and links in the same hierarchy, much less in a dialog window.

However, you can still make the secondary action button look like a text button, which is especially meant for these types of situations, see the image below from Material.io

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And here in a similar situation like yours, combining a main button with a text button:

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Links create some expectations, like for example, if I press ctrl+click (using a desktop computer) I would expect to open in a new tab, which does not fit your use case. Links are also usually used for navigation.

Besides that, in your use case you should only use buttons. There is no need to mix links and buttons. Buttons are the go to elements for handling UI interaction.

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