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Why must I Submit?

January 26, 2012

I just finished a bill paying session with my Credit Union. I’m a lifer with this outfit – love their service, their stability and their new website. There is one thing that galls me though – and it’s not just my credit union – its most websites where you fill out a form or perform a transaction.

Think back to the last time you were filling out a form to pay a bill or buy something online. You fill in name, address, etc and at the end of this list of information there is the inevitable button that will allow you to move to the next step. It says “SUBMIT”. I get uncomfortable for that second. Why must it say “SUBMIT”. That’s not a nice thing to say to someone under any circumstances. Here I am as a customer or a member and you’re telling me I have to submit?

First of all – “Submit” is a long-standing web development name for a button. There are actually 2 Form buttons that come “standard” with any HTML Authoring or WYSIWYG software. SUBMIT and RESET. But just as standard is the ability to use a different word on the button. It takes the web-guy a second to change the display on the button. And the sky is the limit. It may still be a button that RESETs the page but you could have it say “Start Over”. Isn’t that much nicer? Friendlier? More polite?

When it comes to “SUBMIT” I get a little queasy every time. I feel like if I click the button I will be automatically admitting that the website is a superior force. Or that I’m consenting to undergo a treatment of some kind. Or that my list of information is being offered for judgement by some authority organization. It’s not a pleasant thought – submitting.

I’m at a retail website – Ticketmaster for example. I’m looking for an event, then selecting a ticket. They already have a timer on – “You must complete this transaction in 3 minutes or you will lose your tickets and have to start over”. And then – after you pick your seats, enter payment information, you beat the clock – the Master of Tickets says SUBMIT! How about “Thank You” or “Continue with your purchase” or even just “Next Step” or “Finished”. Why must I Submit like I’m making an argument in court. “I submit, your honor, that I completed the purchase within the required time and I should be judged deserving of my tickets.”

Its just one of those things. Don’t these web developers have any sense of what their asking? Don’t they have any imagination? Do they think people will be confused if they used another word or phrase? I know there are some thick headed people around, but Submit is such a demeaning term. And it doesn’t really tell me what’s going to happen when I click the button. Do I go to another part of the page? Another step in the transaction? Do I fall to my knees in submission?

I just want to go on record as saying that the Submit button must go. All you web designers and form designers are on notice. I will criticize you until you submit to my wishes. There! How do YOU like it.

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From → Consumer Angst

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