Do you know how to label web-based form buttons consistently?

Last updated by Jack Pettit [SSW] 5 months ago.See history

Consistency is a key factor of software development, designing applications that minimise the learning curve through consistent use of componentry and functionality. If buttons with similar functionality are named inconsistently across a web application, it can cause a confusing experience for its users. For example, the buttons used to close a form should be named consistently across your application.

Additionally, buttons should have clear names so the user knows what to expect. For example, it is unclear if a button named Close will save (or not save) when closing, so Cancel would be clearer.

Figure: Bad example - Unclear labels on the buttons

  • Save button alone is not explicit about the following action for the form (It could close or remain open)
  • Close could save the fields, then close the form, when the Cancel button may be more appropriate

We recommend the web standards of:

  • Save - Save data without closing the form
  • Save and Close - Close the form and save any changed data
  • Cancel - Close the form without saving

Figure: Good example - This form uses the standard button naming standards (and has the Default buttons set!)

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