Why You Should Prefer the Close Button Over the Quit Button

First, let me ask you a question. Between the two software applications below, which one would you most likely use again?

 

Application Close Button
Software Application A

 

Application Quit Button
Software Application B

 

Most likely (but not always), you’ll choose Software Application A.

Why do you think so? Noticed a subtle difference between the two? (Hint: Look at the title of this post.)

That’s right. It has something to do with the labeling of the second button. One is labeled Close, while the other one is labeled Quit.

Like I mentioned in a previous post, words are powerful — in the way they affect us psychologically, of course.

Words remind of us something, either consciously, or unconsciously.

If you think of close, what does the word remind you of? Probably a door that is closed; the time when your favorite store was closed; or just the feeling of being close to a person you love (yes, alternate meaning of words count, too).

What about quit, what does the word remind you of?  Perhaps the time when you quit a hobby; the quote: “Winners never quit.”; or the Backstreet Boys song Quit Playing Games (With My Heart).

Given those examples, for most people, the word close has a more positive meaning than quit. That said, choosing a quit button over a close button can be the difference between a user using a software application again or not.

Knowing this, maybe application developers should label the button that exits an application as Relax, but that’s pushing it so far….

Relax 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Why You Should Prefer the Close Button Over the Quit Button

    • Yes. Most of the time, though, the people who label user-interface elements (e.g., designers, programmers) in applications aren’t even aware on how their choice of words might affect the behavior of their users.

      They simply use labels that they either saw on the internet, books, or other applications.

      My guess is that people who have a background in writing (and editing) might be able to choose the ideal words that can be used as labels because they know consciously — or unconsciously — how words affect people.

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