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Archived entry | Matt Wilcox .net

Form reset buttons

Take a look at the following form:

an image of a form containing a reset button

What use does this button have? Why does it exist? More to the point in this instance, why is it sat right next to the form submit button - only a few scant pixels separating the user from two completely opposite functions. One saves your form, one completely and irreversibly erases everything you spent the last hour writing.

an image containing a form reset button located immediately next to the form submit button

In summary

No one ever needs a form reset button. It has no valid use. It is functionally pointless and dangerous. No one fills out an entire form, or most of a form, or even part of a form, and then thinks Oh, I need to reset every single field. It doesn’t happen. Don’t put one in any form you build. Ever.

If you do put one in, and dear reader in so doing you will stoke the fires of my wrath, don’t put it right next to the form submit button. If you do that you not only stoke my wrath, but the wrath of anyone with a slightly twitchy and un-responsive mouse. You condemn them to a moment of pure horror and frantic slamming of the ‘back’ button in vain and futile hopes of retrieving their data after their crappy mouse/pc/mac/motor-control made them accidentally click ‘discard all my work from the time this page was loaded into the fiery depths of digital hell’, rather than ‘oh yes please, do let me proceed’.

Employing the service of the woefully misbegotten Form Reset Button earns you, the designer a trip to User Interface Hell, where you will be lectured for forty days and fourty nights on the merits and detriments of form input button types, whilst revolving on a red hot spit. Putting a reset button next to the submit button earns you the same situation, with the added trial of spending eternity coding CSS sites that must be compatible with every version of IE ever released. I can’t imagine a worse punishment with which to condemn your designer/developer soul. Which means it is a punishment fitting of the crime.


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  1. MWF posted 23 days, 16hrs, 1mins after the entry and said:

    Oops! Sorry meant to hit the reset button and accidentally posted this.

  2. Matt Wilcox posted 24 days, 2hrs, 37mins after the entry and said: smiley icon: laugh

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