Some strange reversals have happened in interface design in the last few years. For instance, many of the buttons displayed on screen don't change the state of an application, but change the state of the user. Typical examples are of such buttons are labeled with "get started", "explore", or "see more", "launch experience", etc... These are basically links to other parts of an application and do not activate or change anything significant in the computer or for other users. They're more about making the user repeat a mantra, or change their attitude before they can access the next piece of information. Always reminds me of Mouchette's "Kill That Cat"
I know there have been funnily labeled links around for a long time, such as "click here to start". The difference might appear subtle, but I believe this is quite the opposite of a button labeled "get started": one is about the computer, the other is about you, pressing the button.
Another example: a link labeled "biggest idiot ever" linking to a politician's web site is an expression of the link's author about the target location, using the power of the link to change context—quite classic hypertext technique. A button labeled "explore" on the other hand is about you, clicking that button to bring yourself into an exploratory mood before being presented with new information.
Maybe also related, "overlay scrollbars", the thin lines on the right side of windows and screens serve as indicators what portion of a document a user is currently viewing. They are not a tool for scrolling, as the fully formed scrollbars with arrow buttons, tracks, and drag handles. They are merely a prompt for the user to do the scrolling themselves.
Summarized my observations of a user interface design trend producing buttons that have users do work to reconfigure themselves instead of buttons triggering actions to reconfigure the system:
"Button Pushes You"
@despens these buttons are called CTAs, short for "Call to action", they're the bread and butter for some designers. I've seen awful ones that are first-person sentences such as "I want to know more" or "Take me to this section"
Source: was web dev in an agency
@1frn0 Absolutely! Yet I think not all CTAs are the same, they have taken various forms over time. There is a difference in between a huge button labeled "subscribe to newsletter" ("classic" CTA based on the action the computer will perform) and the same button labeled "receive awesome news in my inbox" (adding the first person perspective you mentioned, predicating the user's judgement).
It's all a sliding scale I guess—my sense is the button labels are just the most striking examples. Like the purpose of some user interface elements is just to be there and be interacted with, kind of a tool theater.
@despens I agree, there are contexts in which they are required. I was especially reacting to those nasty buttons flourishing in "hero" sections!
Now I'm wondering what a complex video game with absolutely no CTA would look/feel like. (I may have played one but I'm exhausted and nothing comes to mind)
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