Buttons make important actions stand out within a task flow, and help users to take those actions easily. Use colour and text in buttons to inform users about what will happen when they activate a button.
When to use it
Use buttons to help users carry out key actions in a task flow, like starting an application or saving their information.
If you are considering using an icon in a button, we suggest you use visible text as well to ensure all users understand the button's function.
How it works
Keep button text short. Start with a verb that clearly describes the action the button performs. Write button text in sentence case.
Some typical examples of button text are:
'Start now' at the start of the service
'Sign in' to an account a user has already created
'Continue' when the service does not save a user's information
'Save and continue' when the service does save a user's information
'Save and return later' when a user can save their information and come back to it later
'Pay' to make a payment
'Confirm and send' on a check answers page that does not have any legal content a user must agree to
'Accept and send' on a check answers page that has legal content a user must agree to
'Sign out' when a user is leaving an account that they signed in to
'Add another [name of thing]' to add another item to a list or group. Ensure the button text describes clearly what this button will add, in case there are other similar buttons on the same page or form.
Consider if you need to include more words to clearly describe a button's action. For example, 'Add another address' or 'Accept and claim a tax refund'.
Use a primary button for the main 'call to action' on a page, such as 'Save and send'.
Avoid using several primary buttons on a single page. Having more than one 'call to action' reduces its impact, and makes it harder for users to know what to do next.
Use secondary buttons for alternative or intermediary actions on a page. Pages with too many calls to action make it hard for users to know what to do next. Before adding a secondary button, try to simplify the page or break the content down into several pages.
You can use secondary buttons in combination with a primary button, such as offering 'Cancel' or 'Save and return later' options. Consider limiting combinations to a maximum of two secondary buttons with a single primary button, as more can confuse users.
Primary and secondary combination
Warning buttons are designed to make users think carefully before they use them. Warning buttons only work well if used very sparingly..
Only use warning buttons for actions with serious destructive consequences that cannot be easily undone by a user, such as permanently deleting an account.
When letting users carry out an action like this, it's a good idea to include an extra first step that asks users to confirm they want to do the destructive action.
In this instance, use one warning button for the initial call to action, and another warning button for the final confirmation.
Do not only rely solely on the red colour of a warning button to communicate the serious nature of the action. Not all users will be able to see the colour or may not understand what it signifies. Make sure the context and button text make clear what will happen if the user selects it.
Disabled buttons, which are often greyed out, have poor contrast and can confuse some users, so avoid them if possible. Disabled buttons may also impede keyboard accessibility.
Only use disabled buttons if your research shows it makes the user interface easier to understand.
Stop users from accidentally sending information twice
You can prevent users from accidentally sending information more than once by preventing multiple clicks from registering.
Sometimes, users will click buttons more than once because they:
have used operating systems where they have to rapidly click twice on items to make them work
are experiencing a slow connection, which means they are not given feedback on their action quickly enough
have motor impairments, such as hand tremors, that cause them to click the button involuntarily.
In some cases, multiple clicks can mean users' information is sent more than once. For example, a notify team found that a number of users were receiving invitations twice, because the person sending them was clicking twice on the 'Send' button.
If you are working in production and your research shows that users are frequently sending information twice, consider using features that configure the button to ignore a rapid second click. If the cause is a slow connection, give the user a 'loading spinner' to show progress.