User Experience Buttons That Work Like Magic

As a UX professional, the many facets of GUI design must not be alien to you, right? Well, just in case you’re not a UX professional, but an aspiring one, or someone with some interest in UX, let’s talk about this for a little bit. User experience buttons are very important and it’s not just all about what they do or how they look. It also depends greatly on how they are ordered, where they are located, and how they are worded, which greatly improves or detracts from a program’s user experience. This transcends just desktop or mobile software design to include any digital interface with some level of interactivity. This means that games, menus on set top boxes and other devices, as well as any web-fueled content must have special attention given to user experience buttons. Like any other control in an interface or form, buttons are very crucial, and it’s extremely important that they be designed properly. It’s pretty rare to see a button-less form, save popups. So, what are some buttons that work magic in UX? Well, we have to be a little broad here, don’t we? Since UX covers a wide array of interfaces, from software to services and back again, we have some variance in what established types of buttons tend to be present. An example of this is the cancel button, which many people have, for a long time, defended as not having a need to be present in most web forms. It’s understandable where they might draw this conclusion, but that doesn’t make it a correct conclusion, per se. A button that allows a user to clear the form, or to dump the form even if it’s several pages in, and go to the home page is a good idea. It doesn’t need to say “cancel”. That’s a fine caption, but it can just as easily say “abort”, “exit to home” or something similar. Best to keep this simple, though. This button should not be red, contrary to what you’re inclined to believe. Instead, it should be a dark blue, if your buttons have color. Only make it red if the form is green or yellow. So, this basic abort button is an important one to have in any form. Even if not absolutely necessary in some cases, it’s still useful, and users will feel better about opting out of the form with a clearly aborting maneuver like this. But, I’ve spent enough time on the abort button, let’s talk about a couple more user experience buttons that help a lot as well. The first is a local help button. Most help buttons in forms are a general help page or window, from which a started over search must be conducted. Smart designers are beginning to tag different pages or areas of forms with local context buttons for help, which pull up a general listing of related topics to that page or region, when help is called up. This makes help easier to use, which means users can use the system and learn it with much more proficiency.  Finally, let’s talk about a button that nobody seems to want to put in forms. This one may be excluded from desktop software and gaming, but needs to be present for mobile, SaaS and other web services always. This button puts the user in direct contact with customer service or tech support. On mobiles, it can make the phone dial the call center, or it can pull up a website with a help desk, or connect to social media in some way. This one-click-away tech and customer support button is a godsend, and I really wish designers would get with the program, if you’ll pardon the rather nerdy pun. This is just a handful of user experience buttons that make a big difference, if somewhat placebo in nature, to users. Simple ideas, but they work very well in testing and in the wild, trust me.
Boaz Amidor is Head of Corporate and Marketing Communications at WalkMe and Contributing Author to ux blog