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I'm at a crossroads determining if the primary action / secondary action should always remain in the same location across as many forms as possible.

Or if the standard gets determined by the context of the form and general behaviours reported by eye tracking for those forms.

As an example, there are many general suggestions to have your action buttons on the left in a single column simple format form.

And in two-column forms where users are zig zagging, to end with the actions on the right.

My users are anticipated to deal with many forms involving different information, while I'm working to keep the forms simple and consistent I'm concerned about the user "guessing" where the action buttons may be from form to form.

  • Keep everything consistent, from the layout, to the button placement. Especially if it's send and delete. If you flip flop those, that can cause some catastrophic results. – Majo0od Mar 6 '16 at 4:32
  • I may need to clarify, the "Send" and Delete" are always on the same side of each other. I'm querying whether, as a group, those two buttons belong on the right or left side of the form based on a site wide standard, or specific to the design of the form. – GeraldBiggs Mar 6 '16 at 6:47
  • Side wide it should be consistent – Majo0od Mar 6 '16 at 6:58
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I would suggest the action locations to be consistent and at the same position as any other form in your application.

Look at it this way,

Users get accustom to the application's primary and secondary(if any) actions. Having them based on a specific form would bring in some extra effort from the user's side. This is not advised.

Now addressing whether they should be on the right or left(as a group), this decision could be better made by looking at the form design pattern.

If in case of a single column form, having the actions grouped to the right would provide better isolation. This way the user will immediately distinguish the area between the actions and the actual form.

On the other hand, why not on the left? This could get mixed in with the form. A Form when design needs to be properly grouped. Even with the actions available.

Divide the whole form in two sections. One displaying the form and the other will be it's actions. This way, proper focus points can be introduced which will allow the user to navigate through the form easily. This could be one perspective to it.

Also, following an order for the buttons is a good way to make web forms even cleaner. For ex, "send" then "delete" . Meaning, positive first and then the negative actions which in this case is "delete"

Few links that could help you:

http://www.getelastic.com/form-design-11-patterns-for-accepting-user-input/ https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/11/extensive-guide-web-form-usability/ https://www.nngroup.com/articles/form-design-white-space/

I hope, if not the solution, I could provide the perspective to it.

  • Realizing I'm asking something, without user testing, relies a bit on perspective. – GeraldBiggs Mar 8 '16 at 17:35

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