Your browser wants its back button back

The other day I was playing around with a potential design for a little something I’m working on. After messing about in Photoshop drawing a button that would take the user back to the previous screen, I had to stop and ask myself the million dollar question: “Why?”

Why are you wasting time building something that all browsers already do?

All browsers come with a back button. All users know where it is and how to use it (at least partially). Why would I spend even a single minute adding complexity to my interface when the browser gives me the same functionality for free? So I ditched it.

Goes for print as well

But the back button isn’t the only button that’s often recreated. Another common culprit is the print button.

Now, in the case of printing, I might begrudgingly have to admit that in some cases it makes sense to create a specific printer-friendly view. If you are spreading your content over multiple pages1 offering a print option that prints everything can be a good idea. Perhaps.

However, if all your print button does is invoke the browsers built-in print functionality, you’re wasting your time and needlessly increasing the complexity of your UI. Why?

  1. If you are doing this to increase ad impressions, you suck.