Watch Your Buttons: An Online Editing Step

We just ordered the new version of a prestigious style manual. The last step in placing the online order had these instructions:

Please confirm your order and click "Complete this order" to submit your order.

We looked for the "Complete this order" button. EDIT ORDER appeared on one button. CANCEL ORDER appeared on another. SUBMIT ORDER appeared on two buttons. 

It may seem like a small thing, but it slows down and frustrates Web visitors when you send them to a button they cannot find–because it doesn't have the name you used in your instructions.  

After a short pause, we clicked SUBMIT ORDER. The style manual is on its way. 

Writing tip: When you write for the Web, be sure your instructions match the name of your links and buttons–especially BUY buttons. Add "Check links and buttons" to your editing checklist. And be sure that step includes (1) clicking each link and button to see that it takes the reader where it should, and (2) confirming that its name is consistent with other content. 

What slows you down or frustrates you on the websites you visit? How can we improve business writing on the Web? 

Syntax Training


  1. It could take days to answer the question, “What slows you down or frustrates you on the websites you visit?”


  2. I use my keyboard as much as possible instead of the mouse, and it frustrates me when the “tab” order of fields is not intuitive. Normally when logging in to a website, I can enter my user id, press tab once, and enter my password. There is one site I go to frequently where the link for “forgot your user id?” is in between the login and password fields, so I often end up on the “forgot” page when all I want to do is enter my password. It’s a minor complaint, but it’s still exasperating.

  3. Thanks for your comments, Amy, Bill, and Arjay.

    Bill, your comment gave me a good laugh. Why not write a book on the subject?

    Arjay, your frustration is a good tip for webmasters. Perhaps someone will read your comment and make a change. We can hope!



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