What’s with right aligned buttons?

It seems everyone is right aligning their UI buttons these days but I’m not sure what the rationale is?

I’ve heard the inevitable “Facebook are doing it” but I want some actual usability logic behind it.

Facebook right aligned buttons

Facebook’s right aligned buttons

I can almost accept them in a process wizard interaction but even then I’m not convinced.

I’m a believer in left aligned buttons for these two simple reasons:

  1. If everything else is left aligned, why would you not left align the main call to action?
  2. That way, moving down a form there is a straight line of sight to the finish action.

Google + has left aligned buttons, as does Basecamp.

Google+ post

Google + Left aligned buttons

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 5.24.16 PM

Basecamp’s left aligned buttons


I’m keen to hear from those supporting right aligned buttons and to understand their rationale?


  1. No strong opinion here, but I’d guess people reading top-left-to-bottom-right plays into it.

    If I were drawing a “More on the next page” icon at the end of a written sheet of paper, I’d probably put it bottom-right, where the eye ends up after reading the last line. Maybe.

  2. The earliest right aligned buttons I can remember is the “cancel” “ok” etc in win95 and probably 3.1 although I can’t remember.

    It seems “just right” to me, but I’d wager that’s why.

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