Action Buttons on Web Forms

Today I read an article titled “Primary & Secondary Actions in Web Forms“. They tested 6 forms where they changed the location and/or appearance of the primary and secondary action buttons, ie “submit” and “cancel”.

It surprised me that the users finished the form quickest when the two buttons had the same appearance. I would have thought that by having the submit button stand out more, it would have been faster because it would pull the user to the correct button. However, when tracking the eye movement, users had more fixations when the buttons had different appearances.

Although it was slightly slower, users said they appreciated the visual effect of having the submit button stand out more than the cancel button. It made them more confident that they were clicking on the right button.

The article also made the point that many forms do not need secondary actions. Don’t include them unless they serve a real purpose.

This article is an interesting read, and will be a part of a book by Luke Wroblewski titled “Web Form Design Best Practices“. After reading this article, I am looking forward to reading the book once it come out in early 2008.

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