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User Experience Toolkit

Button Labeling

One of the most important aspects of building an interface is to properly label information and functional buttons. When buttons are labeled properly it increases a users ability to use a product intuitively. Using the simple explanations below to help pick the proper verb or noun combination that best fit a mockups functionality.

Edit <noun>
should be send the user to a page or open a modal containing the information related to the section that button was found in. The noun is optional if the edit is found next to a header section or in a table row.
Update <noun>
should be the labeling for buttons used on screens where users are updating any type of data.
Delete <noun>
should be accompanied with a forcing function as the action about to be execute is a destructive action. The noun is optional if the button is logically found next to the information that will be removed from the screen/system.
Save <noun>
should be used as a more when a better verb can not be used to indicate when a users data is about to be submitted to the system for the first time.
Cancel <noun>
should appear on form pages where the user is preform a particular action. If the user is in a modal or an update screen cancel can normally stand alone as its canceling the one off tasks the user is preforming. If the cancel is pertaining to a work flow or application as a whole (more than one page) the noun must be present to properly indicate what will be canceled. Cancel buttons should contain forcing functions to ensure user mis-clicks do not cause data lose.
Close <noun>
is typically found in modal dialogs. These dialogs are only information and do not provide user with any form of input.
Back
are page level replication of the browser back button. Back buttons should only be used in non-work-flow situations, (none multi-step/page/screen) tasks.
Previous
very similar to “Back” in functionality but should be used when the user is in the middle of the work flow. Previous should send the user to the previous and most applicable step based on the business rules and the work flow.
Reset <noun>
while resets should very rarely be used there are some occurrences where the reset functionality might be required for some screens. When a reset button is required, the a noun must be specified it to clearly identify what will be reset when the reset button is clicked.

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