I don’t want to waste limited screen space for duplicated elements, so I want to ask: can you imagine a situation when the client demands to see a visible SUBMIT/GO!/OK button that is placed somewhere near the input?

  1. If you use a physical keyboard, you probably don’t want to switch to mouse, point to a button on the screen and click it.
  2. If you use a keyboard on a touchscreen, you probably expect it to have an ENTER key for doing an implicit submission.
  3. If you use a voice to command, you expect to have a possibility to never touch any key.

If you have JS enabled, you can delegate a submit event to anything you want. But even if JS is disabled, the user must have a way to do an implicit submission without being forced to see a separate and visible button.
The only use case that I can imagine is when you want to submit a blurred input, that is, without focusing it, but in my situation, I want to disable such action. Is there another use case?

As I said in a comment, there will be no secondary/additional functions. Just one function, especially start a search. For example, the browsers don't have such a button near the URL bar. And I'll clarify: I'm asking about a situation when the user can't do (that is, can't use a form) without an explicit, visible input...

3 Answers 3



The reason is, explicit design is often better than implicit design.

A submit button does more than just submit the form. It communicates to the user how the form works, and how even a micro-workflow like a single input box is supposed to work.

Assuming that a user (particularly for a consumer app) knows that Enter means submit is presumptuous design. Most users will figure this out, but it is not as communicative as having a clear submit button next to the input box.

For some forms, the button can also perform a secondary function as a call to action, because a button like Send feedback can help prompt users to act.

  • Thanks! "explicit design is often better than implicit design" - well, maybe yes, but... it sounds more like an abstraction, not a specific use case. Surprisingly, I didn't find any serious stats, any research on this problem... Who really needs that (even if you think the users dont know that Enter means submit, you can always tell them about it)? Commented May 12, 2015 at 6:11
  • For example, look at the search input on this site, at the top of the page on the right side. I dont see any "submit" indicator! Note: even on desktop!!! What if a screen space is too limited? If you place this button aside horizontally near the form, the input may become unfriendly short in length. If you place the submit button below, the virtual keyboard may hide it... I will need to choose less evil, right? Commented May 12, 2015 at 6:11
  • And by the way, I suppose that there will be no secondary functions, eg. only "search" function... Commented May 12, 2015 at 6:17
  • Are you asking a question or presuming an answer? Design is about tradeoffs... Feel free to ignore principles if you choose but you cannot wish away design principles or logic no matter how strongly you feel about it emotionally.
    – tohster
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 6:36
  • "no matter how strongly you feel about it emotionally" - I'm not under emotions, that's why I decided to ask. If I was emotional, I forgot and ignored this completely and absolutely. You call that a "principle", but every principle must be proven, right? But as I said, I didnt find any real research work on this subject. Whats the real-world stats? What is the percent of the users who look for a visible button instead of keyboard? Commented May 12, 2015 at 6:51

Also, it's not necessary to have one submit button for a form, though it is a norm, you can have different submit buttons that do different things, and in that case enter without the buttons wouldn't be very clear on what the intention is


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OP: For example, the browsers don't have such a button near the URL bar.

I don't agree, actually. Screen shots from four major browsers below. The way I see it, the three desktop browsers all have a huge, blue button directly below the URL bar. Now you may call this a list item and not a button, but it's a large, nearby, distinct, clickable area that the user can activate with the mouse. My guess is that it constitutes a "button" for most people.

The same is true for the iOS Safari experience - even though the button isn't coloured blue :-)

Like I wrote here, most major sites include submit buttons for their search forms, including google.com. I'm assuming they have user tested their sites and that they have made their decisions based on that data.


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iOS Safari:

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