Design Patterns – Buttons

Credit Card Checkout Template
CTA buttons are used to guide users towards a conversion goal and makes it easy for them to know where you want them to click.
How to design a CTA button
  • Visual design considerations
  • Interaction considerations
Visual design

Users draw on previous experience and visual signifiers to understand the meaning of UI elements like buttons. When designing a button, it’s important to use the appropriate visual signifiers (such as typography, color, shadow, shape, etc.) to make a button element look like a button. These visual signifiers increase the possibility of a user taking action on an element.

Key visual signifiers include the following:
  • Typography
  • Colour
  • Shadows
  • Shape
  • Icons



  • Rounded fonts go better with buttons that have a corner radius;
  • Squared-off fonts go better with buttons that have no corner radius.
  • Add letter-space to uppercase text.



  • Use the World Wide Web Consortium’s guidelines to test for contrast between text and background.
  • For level AAA there should be an adequate contrast ratio of at least 7:1 between the text and the background.
  • For level AA there should be a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 between the text and the background.
  • Try the Contrast Ratio tool by Lea Verou.
  • Use the Color Converter tool to easily convert hex values.
  • The HSB colour system makes it easy to modify colour by leveraging saturation and brightness to control luminosity.
  • Hue is the actual color. Brightness refers to how much white is mixed in the color while Saturation indicates the amount of grey in a color.



  • Shadows are a visual signifiers that convey depth and indicate that a button is clickable. This helps create affordances in an user interface.
  • Button shadows need to be less opaque on darker backgrounds. Eg. A button shadow opacity of 20% on a white background will need to be less opaque at around 40% on a darker background in order to have the same visual weight.



  • Buttons are typically rectangular, but they don’t have to be.
  • See Material Designs’ Circular Floating Button for an example of a circular button shape.



  • Use a stroke weight for icons that are equivalent to the text weight.
  • Use corner radii for icons that are similar to the corner radii of the font you are using.
Interaction Design
  • CTA’s come in the form of buttons. When we see a button, we know that that’s how we are to take action towards our goal.
  • White space near the button makes it easier for users to understand that it’s an interactive element.
  • Place buttons where users expect to find them. Arrange copy and buttons in a way that encourages a natural reading flow, directing users to your CTA button.
  • Use verbs that imply action like ‘buy’, ‘start’, ‘learn’, ‘apply’, ‘get’ etc.
  • Always try to make the primary CTA button more prominent. Increase its size and use a contrasting color within it’s context to capture a users attention.
  • Make buttons finger-friendly for mobile users: A good minimum touch target size is 40px/40px.
  • The order for buttons should reflect the nature of a conversation between the user and the system. For example, it’s logical that a button that moves you forward should be on the right, and a button which moves you backward should be on the left.
  • Don’t use too many buttons. The primary CTA button should be the most prominent.
  • When users click or tap on the button, they expect the appropriate feedback. Failure to provide feedback often causes multiple unnecessary operations.
Design Checklist
  • The typeface you choose should determine if you will have a corner radius or not.
  • Add letter-space to uppercase text.
  • Check that the contrast between the text and the background is at level AAA to be safe or a minimum of AA.
  • Use the HSB colour system to easily adjust luminosity.
  • Button shadows should be less opaque on a dark background than a light background.
  • Inline icons should be designed to appear as though they are part of the font you’re using.
  • Button shapes are typically rectangular but don’t have to be.
UX Practices: 8 Handy Tips on CTA Button Design
7 Basic Rules for Button Design
The King vs. Pawn Game of UI Design
Call for Attention. UI Design Tips on CTA Buttons


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