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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

Submit Yourself to the Button

If you’re building a web site, you might put “Submit” on your forms’ submit buttons. It’s logical, right? But consider the meanings of the word:

sub·mit
v. sub·mit·ted, sub·mit·ting, sub·mits
v. tr.

  1. To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.
  2. To subject to a condition or process.
  3. To commit (something) to the consideration or judgment of another. See Synonyms at propose.
  4. To offer as a proposition or contention: I submit that the terms are entirely unreasonable.

v. intr.

  1. To give in to the authority, power, or desires of another. See Synonyms at yield.
  2. To allow oneself to be subjected to something.

Dictionary.com/submit

Although it’s technically correct, the word does have some negative connotations. Do you really mean to ask people to yield, surrender to your will or give in to authority? I doubt it, unless you’re taking over the world or the site is of a “specialist” nature.

Instead, use a more helpful, descriptive action for the button text, such as “Send”, “Search” or “Log In”.

(for once I find myself grudgingly agreeing with a Clientcopia quote)


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