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Should there be additional clarifying text near the button or should the button define the call to action by itself?

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The button alone should define the call to action (specifying what the button will do / where it will take you). It should not depend on external text to explain what the action is.

You can however have additional text around it to give the user reasons why they specifically might want to do that action.

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    Are tooltips external text explaining what the action is in that respect, as well? Commented May 5, 2014 at 19:00
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    @O.R.Mapper Ooh, good question. I would say that, specifically for a button that is a call to action, a tooltip or hover should never be the key to understanding what the action is. You want to draw the user to interact with the button, and a tooltip is only displayed when the user has already been drawn there.
    – Franchesca
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 19:21

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