The Use of Buttons in the Digital Space

In today’s digital world, buttons are everywhere. Every website you visit has a navigation bar that’s filled with buttons. Those websites probably also have strong call-to-actions placed somewhere on the page. Every app you use requires you to push a button to trigger a command. Every digital ad you see has (or should have) a button that convinces you to click to get more information.

Buttons are one of the most important elements in any digital design. They allow the user to know where to go in order to get the information they are looking for. Each button has two main elements.

  • Design
  • Call-to-Action

The design of digital buttons dates back to Windows 95.  As you can expect, the grey, rectangular, 3D appearance of these buttons has since evolved. Buttons now come in a wide variety of styles, colors, and effects. Keeping your Call-to-Action on a button is important! According to Copyblogger, making your CTA look like a button can increase your Click-Through-Rate (CTR) by 45%!

Button Design – What’s Trending Now?

Flat Buttons: 

One of the major shifts that has happened in button design is the transition from 3D effects to a flatter design. This was seen as a way to take advantage of the digital space rather than trying to recreate the physical world. Bevels and drop shadows have been removed from more modern button design, and designers now use color, size, shape, and animation to draw a user’s attention to the buttons that are most important.

Almost Flat Buttons:

Almost flat button design is a slightly different approach that combines flat button design with subtle traditions of the original button. This style is mostly flat, but makes use of subtle shadows, highlights, and layers to create an illusion of depth.

Ghost Buttons: 

Ghost buttons are my personal favorite. They are simple and fit into virtually any design. Ghost buttons are transparent and have a basic shape. They are usually bordered by a thin line and they blend seamlessly into the design of the website or advertisement they are a part of. Ghost buttons arose in popularity in 2014 and have become increasingly popular since then.

5 Things to Consider in Your Button Design

  1. Shape:

Simple shapes are most effective. Squares, circles, rectangles … rounded or pointed corners.

  1. Size:

For digital ads, size doesn’t affect much, but for websites, you should make sure your button is large enough to be tapped by a finger on a cellphone. 10mm is the minimum size your button should be. As the size goes down, percentage of missed clicks (or taps) goes up.

  1. Padding:

Keep your button far enough away from other content that it stands out. Don’t cram text inside the button. Make it fit comfortably.

  1. Label:

Use a strong and relevant call-to-action. (Discussed below)

  1. Color/Design:

Decide if you want your button to out with contrasting colors or blend in with your design using ghost buttons. A/B test button colors/designs to find which works best with your audience.


What Is a CTA: 

A Call-to-Action (or CTA) is a short statement designed to get a response.  In button design, the CTA should tell a user what clicking the button will allow them to do. It’s important to use a CTA that will generate clicks. These clicks should lead the user to the product, service, or information they are searching for.

When computers were first introduced, buttons often said “Click Here” or “Click Here for ______________” in order to let the user know that they could click a certain area of your webpage or ad. Today, users are more familiar with how buttons work and they know what to look for. That being said, you can be more creative with your CTAs. Having the right CTA has a huge impact on the number of conversions you will receive.

Personalize your CTA:

While “Click Here” can be effective, personalized CTAs will have a great effect on your overall CTR. According to HubSpot, personalizing your call to action can increase your clicks by 42%! Here are some examples of how to personalize your CTA:

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The possibilities are endless!  Your CTA is perhaps the single most important part of your website. If you’re looking to increase your conversions, a well thought out CTA combined with a well-designed button can make a huge difference.

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