Should a Form Button Never Say “Submit?”

‘Anthony’ at UXMovement writes:

When you see a Sub­mit but­ton on a form, what comes to your mind? One could eas­ily rea­son that click­ing the but­ton sub­mits the user’s infor­ma­tion into the sys­tem for pro­cess­ing. A Sub­mit but­ton describes what the sys­tem does well, but it doesn’t describe what the user does at all.

When users fill out a form, they are engag­ing in a task. The action but­ton should affirm what that task is, so that users know exactly what hap­pens when they click that but­ton. A but­ton that describes the user’s task tells users that the form focuses on car­ry­ing out that spe­cific task. The more focused your form is, the more likely you’ll get users to com­plete your form.

I admit to using the word ‘Submit‘ on buttons frequently, and I’ve never really given it much thought until reading this post. The main point that the author is making is that ‘Submit’ is a vague term–It doesn’t really let the user know what will happen when that button is clicked. I only “sort of” agree. It is vague, true, but it is short and, assuming the form is straightforward, it is to the point. ‘Submit’ is a term that has been used for many years now and I really believe that even the most basic computer users are very well trained by now to understand what it means to click a submit button.

In general its probably a very good idea to attempt to make a button label say something that is descriptive (and the post gives some conveniently short examples). There are other times, however, where descriptive text is just too long to fit on a clean looking button, and submit is probably just fine.

[UXMovement: Why Your Form Buttons Should Never Say Submit]