I need advice on a disagreement over button text


I’m currently at loggerheads with a client. We are building an integrated blog/community site. The homepage displays a grid of posts pulled from WordPress and Discourse (the forum platform).
Users can add a post to Discourse and it will display as one of the grid items on the homepage. There is one button on the entire page, and it adds the new post (to the forums and by default, the homepage.)

I think that button needs to say “Add Discussion” or “Add Post” but the client wants to use this as a chance to prime the type of behaviour that he wants to encourage, by having the button say “Engage” or “Contribute” or “Share”. I’ve explained that the button needs to clearly indicate what will happen when you click it, but we can’t reach an agreement.

How would you handle this? And as an aside, can you think of some middle ground here as far as button text goes? I could post a screenshot if that would help.


Oh no - love it when this happens!

I’ve seen some shockers! I usually do some quick and dirty A/B testing - that way you have evidence to base your recommendations. That way it’s not your idea it’s the user’s idea. You know what best practice is but this way you can show that everyone’s ideas have been heard and considered and ultimately it’s what works best for the user that matters.

Treejack or Chalkmark would do the job - let me know if I can help :slight_smile:


Hey Hawk,

I agree with ASH, I would test it if you can. I also agree with you around the label, it is something that you want people to know how it behaves, and some words like “Share” can have multiple meanings. Not everyone will play around and click things to find out what they do.
Sometimes you can get around this by using an icon, because people can interpret icons in different ways.


Thanks Ash, I might take you up on that at some stage.


Please do! I can build the test/s and all you have to do is send a link out to people! :slight_smile: I can share the results pretty easily and I’d be happy to help you interpret them too


Yikes. Yeah you’re right, having ambiguous button text is not going to “prime behaviour”, it’s going to cause confusion.

A/B testing is one way to settle the dispute, as Ash and Natalie have suggested. Some people are only swayed by quantitative information.

What that test won’t tell you is why one label resonates with people compared to another. For that you need to talk to your users, observe them using the thing, and try and understand what their expectations are at that point in time. This might mean finding 6-8 people who legitimately fall into your target user group, and showing them two versions of the page (perhaps randomising which version gets shown first) and asking them what they think the site is about, what they think they can do there, and what they expect to happen if they click the button. And [I]would[/I] they click the button (users don’t always do what they say they do, so take it with a grain of salt).

What you should be trying to do is understand is where they’re at when they arrive at the page, and what these two labels will mean to them at that point in time. In general, the clearer the better—if you consider the user to be drunk, then “Add discussion” makes a lot more sense than “Engage”.