Red SAVE Button?

Subject: Red SAVE Button?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2009 14:15:45 -0400

Deborah Hemstreet wondered: <<Question: How would you react to a RED
save button (next to a gray cancel button). The rationale? The red is
part of the company's branding and page colors....>>

I'd assume the interface designers were wholly without a clue -- not a
stretch, since that's my usual working assumption until proven
otherwise. There's a more or less universal English convention that
green means go (i.e., do what should be done) and red means stop
(i.e., cancel what I've done, stop, don't go any further). Violate
that convention at the risk of seriously confusing some of your
clients. It's also worth noting that red-green colorblindness is the
most common sort, and affects up to 10% of men (but essentially no
women), depending on the population, so you shouldn't rely on red vs.
green distinctions for important choices such as "OK/cancel".

You may also want to confirm that this color won't cause problems for
your internationalization efforts; red is a "special" color in China
and Japan, and possibly elsewhere, so you'd want your localization
experts to confirm that this color choice isn't a problem.

If the company wants branding of the interface as part of their visual
identity program, that can be done much more appropriately by using it
to color the title bar at the top of the dialog, or include the
company's wordmark at the bottom of the dialog. But this should be
done judiciously; people get annoyed if they have to keep disregarding
this kind of visual clutter.

Geoff Hart (
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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Red SAVE Button: From: Deborah Hemstreet

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