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Submit, Reset.

9pm, 1st September 2006 - Geek, Rant, Web, Developer

What is the Reset button for ? Honestly, has anyone, anywhere, ever actually USED the Reset button ?

Here's the scenario:

You are filling in a form online. Let's say it's your annual tax return and it's quite long and complicated (as tax forms are...) You reach the end and go to click the "Submit" button but you pause. Have I filled in everything correctly ? This is important... I'd better check...

Oh. My. God.

I've filled everything in wrong. My income, my dependants, my job title, the date and even my own name. Everything.

I wonder if there's an easy way to clear every field and start over again ?

Convoluted ? Sure, but it had to be to find a use for that button. And of course, you could always reload the page. In most cases, you only want to adjust one or maybe two fields on a page because you filled them out incorrectly and if you don't want to submit the form anymore, just navigate away from the page. It's not a real, paper form where you need to rub out all your answers before throwing it in the bin. Yet for some reason, web forms seem to always have a button. It's like developers were taught to put a submit button, then a reset button then close the form tag and they have never questioned whether they really want to because "That's the way it's done."

While I'm on the topic... Submit buttons with the default value of "Submit" bug me. Apple got it right with their Human Interface Guidelines - a control should give some idea of what it is going to do when you click on it. Give me a hint; is this button going to solve a puzzle for me ? Call it "Solve". Will it book a hotel ? Call it "Book hotel". Will it search a database and display the results ? Call it "Search".

It doesn't have to inventive; it has to be informative. Put your brain to it; can you think of a more descriptive word than "Submit" ? I think you can.

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