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Article: 7 Important Rules When Creating a Button Design

7 Important Rules When Creating a Button Design

There are certain criteria in order to create a good button design.
Not only does it have to be aesthetical but also functional. Let's find out more!
Created by Anastasia Holovnia |

When talking about digital visuals and design, one should understand the range of elements in it. In many cases, people are only paying attention one the visuals and layout. But, a complete digital project also takes into consideration even the smallest part, a.k.a button. The small element might sound and look very unnecessary. Yet it does have some rules.  

But, if you are going to make clear UX and UI, the use of the perfect button will increase the design in many ways. So, the idea of creating a button design that complements the whole interaction can mean more than just simple work. Several rules can help you figure out the best design ideas and create one that effectively supports your work. 


The Rules On Creating Button Designs You Should Understand

1. A Clickable Design That Resembles a Switch

A button, in many cases, appears as a small element or box in a digital display. It sounds minor, but it has a huge influence on the interaction aspect. But, the idea of interactive rules will deplete if the user or viewer cannot distinguish which part is clickable or not. You can see that it happens so many times that people just click randomly to trigger something in the interface.

That example shows the real meaning of how to make it look like how it supposes to be. In other words, you need to ensure that people know the button design appears clickable. Generally, one of the best rules that you can use is pretty simple. Create and make it look like a button in shape, model, or design in general. 

Created by Nazmul Hassan |

In the case of visual design rules, you need to put appropriate visual signifiers. You can consider it from shapes, size, color, shadow, or the 3D effect that resembles a real switch. Not only that, emphasizing visual signifiers will increase the essential information values in your UI design, especially for your button design and affordance in the interface. 

But, as the visual interface gets more complex and fancy, the visual signifier will get less and less noticeable. It only makes your creating button design rules fall in a pit and fail to increase the interaction point. So, you can follow some rules that help accentuate the signifier in many ways. As it gets clear and clickable, your UI will feel complete. 

So, how to do it? There are some points that you need to underline when creating keys. Starting from the similarity, template, or trend. After that, you need to consider user assumptions. And lastly is the clarity of position and the button itself. These rules work in any range of digital visuals, including for mobile users. So, you are free to experiment and create one.

Mobile users, in particular, should face smaller spaces and media to interact with UI. That is why designers should pay attention to many other button design aspects to accommodate the user's needs. It is one of many crucial rules since users do not have the chance to use cursors that can reach a small clickable area. So, to help you with the idea, try these ideas. 

Created by UI8 Design |


1.1. Familiar Designs 

If you want a design that hits the mark easily, try to consider the familiar models that are generally used. The idea of using the familiar model will help people learn your design from experience. Many template models help you figure out the basic details and design for your UI. 

So, these rules of using familiar models can be a solution for your work. In many cases, the design idea does not necessarily need a very complicated build. You can see that a filled button with shadows is pretty common for the idea. So, you can create a button design around that model. 

The use of drop shadow, the rounded corner, and solid color make it stand out among the content. Not only that, but it also resembles a switch in real life. So it looks more clear, dimensional and clickable. Remember those rules, and try to apply them to your design ideas. You can change the colors, label, or location. 

Created by Paweł Olszak |


1.2. Don't Assume Clickability 

Have you ever played a quirky flash game that hides the proper button to pass levels? In the game, the switch comes in many shapes and is hidden. That is why the player should discover the location and click it to advance to the next level. It is a great example of how the designer defies all the rules and creates a wrong assumption for the audience. 

In this case, you need to do the opposite of the example. The rules will ensure your audience knows what the button is and what is not. Sometimes, people intentionally create a design that does not make a clear identity for the interaction. They assume that the user can figure out the obvious. Sometimes, the idea was also blocked due to the interface design. 

As an example, you are trying to create a UI that has a beautiful background in it. So, to avoid disturbing the picture, you decide to use a ghost or transparent model. In this case, the button design might not work since people hardly see it. You might have to consider some other rules, effects, models, or ideas to create the ghost button more clearly. 

The highlight of these rules on creating a button design is pretty clear. You should never assume the viewer will know or understand your mind. The clickability signifier that you have should appeal and increase interaction. So, try to ask for feedback when launching the GUI. It will help you find the answer to your design assumption. 

Created by Sofia Shumbasova |


1.3. Pay Attention To The Negative Space

If your UI design has a lot of copy or text, you can make the button more apparent with the help of white space. It is easier to create and help your layout work. However, you will also need to consider the previous appearance rules as well. After that, you can add some small white space around it to separate the element from the rest of the content. 

The reason you will need to consider these rules when creating a button design is to distinguish it as a clickable object. When you put the item square in the middle of bountiful text, people can mistake it for an information box. So, to avoid confusion, you need to make it clear and proper and have a proper look resembling a switch.  

Created by YULIIA MEI |


2. Name It As It Supposed To Be (The Proper Label)

Many works somehow turn into misleading action due to the bad label rules. Since the button will lead you to make an interaction, you should ensure people know what it will do. If you go forward, then say so. If you want them to go to the previous page, add the proper label. People can misunderstand the information and create the wrong choice. 

The appearance rules go well with this point. A misleading label can appear in many ways. You can see it when creating a button design that does not say much, does not show the action, or has a misleading color identifier. In this case, rather than making assumptions about clickability, people will create assumptions about the label and appearance. 

What comes to your mind when looking at a reed switch? People might assume it as a switch that leads to bad action, such as deleting, removing, or closing. Putting the wrong color and label that signifies the action will only make people frustrated. As an example, the call button is in red, or the accept in green. To make the rules better, you can use monochrome or simple representative shapes.

Created by Alan Love |

How about a button that says ok and cancels? This kind of design tends to appear as a confirmation move. The best example is to remove objects from the UI. However, the ok option will not say much. It makes people ask more questions. Does the ok label or dialog mean you want to remove or ok for understanding an irreversible action? It only creates confusion. 

Instead of using ok and cancel, you can create it into a clearer model. Use the appearance rules; after that, add labels that say remove to clearly show the consequence of the action. You can also add red color to signify that the action will state the fact. Remember that theories can lead to misleading information or action.

A clear reminder that you will need when creating a button design is that the element is not a link. Many rules signify the differences between the two. A button is to trigger the user and take action. However, a link will take the user somewhere without being the main interaction point. It is mostly used as the in-site navigation between outside or inside pages. 

Created by Lera Yarmolik |


3. Determine The Sizes 

When talking about size rules, you will find that most of the time, it relates to the form. However, the size also accounts for your interactive interface aspect. Since people can see, find, and click it, it means your button design nails the function. But what is the best size for your button? You can take a look at these rules to create the most effective one.

3.1. Base It On The User And Application

The first thing you should consider about button design size is the users. Try to see what kind of UI and media your work will be used for. Remember that the rules of appearance will make your element clickable. But you also need to ensure that the user can create an action by clicking it. That is why one of the rules is to see who will access it. 

If you are designing for mobile apps, try to ensure your user can touch or click the button. Remember that mobile apps will mostly be touched by a finger, not a cursor. So, using a smaller button design will only make it hard to navigate. In this case, one of the best design size rules that you can create is around 10mm x 10mm. 

Created by Gapsy Studio |

3.2. Put the Difference For Primary And Secondary Actions 

If you are going to create an Ui design that compiles a lot of information, try to make your priority order. Make the most vital action on the page stands out among others. Try to adopt all of the appearance rules. You can make it have a different color, bigger, or be located in the most visible location. The point of the rules is to capture your user's attention. 

3.3. Don't Put More Than One Primary Button

Along with priority and attention-grabbing design, you will also need to limit your users' interaction or action. You can do it by letting them focus on what they have in their hand. So, avoid adding too many primary buttons on one page. If you have to, you can create a button design that has lower priority. 

Created by Anastasiia Kulik |


4. Easy To Find And Predicted Position 

Placement is the key to attracting people's attention. So, you not only create one but also make it work. In UI, you need to ensure you nail the layout and lead people to understand the content. Those rules also affect your button placement. Placing it in a certain location can help prioritize, show the action, and the urgency of the action. 

Not only that, but there are also some rules that you need to consider when placing the button. One of the best is to put it in a place where people or users will expect it. As an example, the button to go next is on the right side; meanwhile, the previous one is on the left. It makes sense and also relates to the action. People know and can assume the position easily.  

4.1. Consider The Use Of Traditional Layout 

If you are not used to how to place the button rules, you can try using a traditional layout model. The layout design can appear simple, standard, and also clear. In this case, the style of the layout is also commonly used in many web or UI works. Using the same or familiar model can help people remember the position. 

But the use of a traditional layout is more than just the familiar model. The rules of positioning the label are very predictable. An example is a floating header with a colored button in the right corner. The right or left header makes the place easier to notice and shows the importance of the elements. 

Created by Mateusz Grad |

4.2. Use contrast 

To create a button design that is easy to see and located in the intuitive placement, you can also use the contrast rules. In this case, you are not only using color to create a stand-out element. But also make it clear on stating the action. Don't forget about the other appearance rules, such as negative spaces. With this idea, you will make it look more prominent. 

Created by Mohiuddin Mazumder |


5. Determine The Orders Of The Button 

The main rule that every UI designer should follow is the pagination order. Remember that the interactive aspect of your UI mostly appears from the button design. So, your decision on the element can affect the conversation between the system and the users. That is why you get to know the framework and create the best order. 

There are many examples of these rules. You can see the previous or next switch as the creating a button design example. The next button will be on the right and the previous one on the left. It makes sense and creates a sequence since people read information from left to right. You can also put the same rules for chapters or page details, which move downward in an order. 

Created by Искандер Ильясов |


6. Adding Visual And Audio Feedback For Better Interaction 

While there are many works out there that put visual and audio feedback for their work, the rules are optional. You can add the idea to your button design to create an impression of feedback for users' interaction. It can be done in many ways. You can use moving pictures, simple clicks sound, or tactile detail. 

The use of feedback also helps create an interesting aspect that makes the button different from others. It can be a great solution to lead the user's attention to the page. Not only that, users can feel relieved since they can see the system receive their command. And so, the user will repeat the action. But again, you need to see whether you need or not to avoid too much distraction.  

Created by SurendarV |


7. Avoid Using Too Many Buttons 

Lacking or too many buttons will only make your UI project worse. In this case, using too many elements is hell for your users. The worst thing that your users might do is do nothing, wander, and give you a bad reputation. It also makes people frustrated. So, remember to limit the number when you are creating a button design as one of the vital rules.   

Created by Najwa Ibrahim |



When you create and pay attention to the button design, it might not be highly prioritized in the process. However, the small details can create a huge impact on your project. It is especially true since the main function is to add interactivity and take action. So, be sure you can use the rules above and work around them to create better interactive work.

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