Button questions

I have some questions related to how I should create buttons.

Here is some background…

When a user on my website wants a paid subscription, they click on a “Subscribe” button in the top menu. This takes them next to a page which displays 3 side-by-side panes/panels/boxes, each containing a different subscription option. (Let’s call them “Silver”, “Gold” and “Platinum”.)

If the user chooses either “Silver” or “Gold”, then I want to take them immediately to a checkout page.

But if the user chooses the “Platinum” option, then I will take them next to a catalog page where they get to choose a free eBook, and then after they select that, I will take them to the checkout page.

I’m not sure of the best way to do this and make it intuitive to the user?!

1.) Should I have a “Select” button on each plan, and then a second button called “Next”?

2.) Is it okay to have multiple words in a button?

For “Silver” and “Gold” I was thinking of: “Select and Checkout”

For “Platinum” I was thinking of: “Select and Choose Free eBook”

Or is that too wordy? (I’m trying to tell people that they need to click the button to choose a subscription plan and then let them know what comes next.)

3.) Should a button tell you WHAT IT DOES or should it tell you WHERE YOU GO?

This is a good question.

First and foremost the word(s) you use on any button or link should explain what’s going to happen next. The button in your top menu should only say ‘Subcribe’ if clicking that button literally signs them up to a plan right there and then.

The top menu button should say something like ‘Choose a Plan’ (yes it’s okay to use more than one word on a button) since the next action that is happening is it is taking them to a page where they can…wait for it…choose a plan :slight_smile:

On the page with the plans, on the two plans “Silver” and “Gold”, since those buttons will take them to the checkout page, it should say ‘Checkout’. You said the “Platinum” plan is taking them to a page where they can choose a free eBook. Well that’s awesome, who doesn’t love free? You should tell them you’re giving them a free eBook. Spice that button up and instead of saying plain ole “Next” :expressionless:, the button should say “Choose Your Free eBook!”. Entice them to choose your “Platinum” plan even more.

Again, it is okay to have multiple words but try to shorten as much as possible. You should drop the word ‘Select’ and just put ‘Checkout’ or ‘Choose Your Free eBook’ as mentioned above.

This UX 101. Hope this helps!

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Thank you for your thoughts, @eoadams08.

It sounds like you basically agree with what I had for the SIlver & Gold and the Platinum buttons, although you shortened things up and trimemd them down to “Checkout” and “Choose Your Free eBook”.

Somewhat related to this… Is it okay to go from the product/service selection page directly to a checkout page, or should I first got to a shopping cart page like most e-commerce sites do?

I have beeen reading a lot lately about the modern approach to e-commerce, and the consensus seems to be “Get their $$$ asap!!”

Since subscribing is really a two-step process - you choose a subscription plan and you pay - I am inclined to take them directly from where they select a plan to a page which shows them what they selected at the top (i.e. mini shopping cart) and then below it jumps directly into the account and payment details to make things quick and easy. (Of course there would be an extra step for people who choose Platinum since they have to first choose their free eBook.)

What do you think about that?

Lastly, about the only thing you said above that I’m not sure I agree with is “Subscribe” versus “Choose a Plan”.

I have checked out all of the major publications online, and it seems the standard approach is having a “Subscribe” and “Log In” button in the emnu bar.

To me, it is implied that clicking on “Subscribe” won’t sign you up automatically, because obviously the website has no clue of who you are. So to me it is understaood that clicking on “Subscribe” will start the process to helping you buy a subscription.

My concern with “Choose a Plan” is that it isn’t as direct/assertive. Choose a plan to what?

For me, if I see “Subscribe” it is a clear call-to-action to get me to become a member of a website. To me, “Subscribe” scream “Become a Member” whereas “Choose a Plan” doesn’t necessarily sound like it relates to “Susbcribing” and “Becoming a Member”.

Just my 2-cents.

About using “Subcribe” vs “Choose a Plan” in the top menu, you’re right; large publications like The New Times uses “Subcribe Now” in their top menu.

If your website is set up like a publication or some type of community then yes, when visitors see a “Subscribe” call to action, it’s understood they will subscribe to get access to the content.

I was confused that your website was a general commercial / info website (selling something) where the button was taking them to where they can choose one of your plans.

If your website is commercial intent, the homepage is only selling your visitors what you have to offer and then your call to action button could say “Choose a Plan”. That wording could work in that example because generally speaking you want a call to action button to let people know what’s next.

But if your website itself is a dedicated publication (blog) or community membership, then yes you are correct, having the wording “Subcribe” is self explanatory, and since you have plans, it would take them there.

I agree with your initial thought of taking them directly to the checkout page. No need for a cart unless they are adding multiple different products they would need to manage before ready to checkout.

Think about a physical retail store, people who come in to only get 1 or 2 things usually will not grab a shopping cart because it is not necessary.

No added unnecessary steps.

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You lost me there…

My site aspires to be like a large publication like the New York Times which is an online newspaper/e-zine and which has both free and premium content.

So if you want to read the premium content, you need to “Subscribe Now” where you will be presented a couple of different subscription types which you can purchase to receive varying levels of access. For example, buying the “Basic” plan might give you access to all articles, whereas the “Extended” plan might also give you access to exclusive interviews and podcasts as well.

Follow me?

This is not subscribing to a newsletter, it is buying a newspaper/e-zine subscription to get more access to the website which means primarily accessing more content.

I suppose it is technically part-subscription and part-membership if you follow me?

What I am trying to do is closer to the New York Times or Wall Street Journal.

I have decided that if you click on “Subscribe Now” that your only option is to choose one of 3-4 subscription plans and then checkout.

However, I will also have a link/button called “e-Store” in the main menu bar where people can buy lots of things (e.g. T-shirts, Books, Audio Books, etc).

I am still trying to work out if I should allow to choose a subscription in the main e-Store…

But for now, they are separate.

I like your analogy! :slight_smile:

I have been doing lots of reading, and at least according to some experts, a one-step checkout experience is supposed to me the new best way to do e-commerce. (Of course I am sure other will disagree or maybe there is a newer theory out there?!)

Yep, in the same book but on the wrong page :smirk:

But yes that’s absolutely acceptable to have “Subscribe” since your site is basically a publication.

UX is the process of you figuring out how your readers/audience use your site and what they expect from it. There are many use cases where a one-step checkout alone is ideal, but other times where a cart should be utilized.

Here’s an idea:
You can always implement both where for each product page you have two call to action buttons - one that allows buyers to add the item to their cart, another that allows them to go directly to checkout.

I don’t believe in a single best practice, only a best process :slightly_smiling_face:

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