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I'm working on a very intense application with many many options for clicking and selection and the like.

My goal is when the user finds what they are looking for to be able to select that option easily, but at the same time keep my design clean and free of distraction.

So instead of having a bunch of bright buttons, I turn those buttons into simple text links. But when that containing element is hovered/focused I turn these CTAs into buttons.

Does anyone have any experience with this as far as UX and have any immediate thoughts to drawbacks?

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  • I just don't agree. Buttons are commonly used as links / CTAs. Even the user who said that doesn't agree with it. – Chris Aplin Sep 4 '14 at 22:03
  • How are you going to mark up these button/link hybrids? That could be confusing to people with screenreaders for instance. – JonW Sep 4 '14 at 22:06
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    related reference: nngroup.com/articles/command-links – Chairman Meow Sep 4 '14 at 22:59
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    @ChairmanMeow That depends on what the other place is. For instance a button for 'Check Out' on an eComm store taking the user to the place where they purchase something is likely OK for a button as that is an action the user is carrying out. Also perhaps a button taking people to the 'Contact Us' page, as that too is cognitively an Action not Navigation. But if you start using buttons purely for navigation that's where things get confusing. And the same the other way around too. – JonW Sep 5 '14 at 9:43
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I have been working on an application which is basically a web portal. From my experience try using buttons for all the strong actions such as "Submit", "Cancel", "Filter", "Search" etc.

Whereas you can use links for certain lighter functionalities such as

  • going back to a certain page.
  • opening up a new form.
  • update and delete options.

Using too many buttons rather create confusion to the user and result into a naive user interface with an average user experience.

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http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?design.4.541972.17

In REST terms, a link is a 'GET' action that can be backtracked without affecting the state whereas a button is a 'POST' that affects a state permanently

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