Web 2.0 time: never redesign buttons

There’s something that I really can’t understand about the web. Every time people design a new web application, they usually re-draw “buttons” using Photoshop or similar programs.

This is very common especially in this Web 2.0 time, where anyone wants to have cool brightly buttons.

HTML provide us a full feature set of web controls and each of them can be used through a simple tag on a page.

Why don’t people like them?

Why do they need to change what’s actually working well?

I’m not a designer, but have to admit that it happens to me sometimes. The truth is that every time we design a new web site we partially waste our time in users confusing tasks. They gratify ourselves, not the end user.

Let me explain why. A user can learn everything, but I’m pretty sure that there’s something which he’s already used to. It’s the operating system he has chosen (or not) to install on his PC.

The great part of the PC users have a Wintel platform and I suppose they know it quite well. In any case, if a user has chosen a different OS, he probably likes it and he knows what its basic user interface controls mean. They definitely know what a button is and how it looks like.

Every time we decide to re-design the application buttons we could confuse the users, forcing them to learn a new metaphor.

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