The power of the “Done” or “OK” button is vast. This seems like the most basic thing, but sometimes you discover that its the most simple of things that are the most neglected.
When creating logos (yes, this is a tangent, but its relevant), I’m always having to ask myself, “What does this logo say? Does it even convey a message? Is it conveying the right message? Does it have a story in it? Is it multifaceted enough where someone could dissect it and come up with a concept of what was going on in the creator’s mind when they worked on this?”
The “done” button is not a logo, but in a very similar way, it conveys a message that is so multifaceted that most people don’t even realize what its communicating.
I’ll leave quite a few things out, but the “Done” button is… magical. It is an assurance that what you’ve just done or entered will remain and will magically transform itself and send that information off to… somewhere. It gives assurance that what has just been done is a true accomplishment. Done gives a finality that is very similar to executing a task successfully and being able to reflect upon it with pride of a job well done. The closing of a book to a “chapter”. It says, “Ok, I have completed this stage in the process and need to move forward with what I’m working on”.
The OK button is similar, but is often considered to be much more vague than “Done” but these two are frequently used interchangeably.
My daughter has this Dr. Sues book called the Nose book. It talks about noses, how they’re different shapes and sizes, sometimes useful, but sometimes not fun because they get stuffed up or burnt in the sun – and then it poses the question, “But just suppose you had no nose.”
In the same sense, I’d like to rephrase that for this blog, “But just suppose you had no done button” and gave only a few options: to continue using the 1 screen for entering data, allowing a cancel, which implies that you’ll lose the data entered, and an X which could mean exiting from that window with a myriad of questions as to whether that is also a cancel button, if the information will be retained, if you’ll even be able to continue to the next process if closed and be stuck in limbo for all eternity… or…. what?
Just suppose there was no done or ok button?
This very simple button portrays so much power and has such significance that you’d think that it would have prime importance in every mind developer or designer driven – but somehow its under appreciated and considered so fundimental that when its not present, its also often not noticed that its missing.