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The floating action button: the best SaaS guide to date 🎉

Work smarter, not harder. Everyone has heard that saying at least once in their life. And that’s what the floating action button aim to do. Also known as feedback menus at Usersnap, floating action buttons make a website more user-friendly; many companies find them necessary when collecting customer feedback, and making product or website improvements.

Floating action buttons represent the main action of a screen. Feedback menus appear in front of the screen content, usually shaped as a circle with an icon in the center. But you can find mini or extended action menus (we’ll discuss those later).

Feedback menu acts as a floating action button

At Usersnap, we had the difficulty of naming our floating action button for the specific use case we provide, which is a customer feedback menu. What does this customer feedback menu do? It gives end users multiple feedback options from one button. How did we do this? We asked our customers, tried to drill into the floating action button online literature, and found new ways to improve our floating action button configuration and setup. 

The types of floating action buttons, as well as what they are and how they help digital products get closer to customers and help them (not just for customer feedback), is the topic of this article.

What Are Floating Action Buttons?

Floating action buttons are UI controls for Android and web-based apps. A floating action button is a tool that allows users to navigate the key parts of an app or website. Usually, floating menu plugins display as a circular icon with the app’s color scheme. Action menus clearly illustrate its action without notifications.

Not every screen needs a floating action button, and companies don’t display more than two buttons unless they have separate but equally important actions. 

Floating action buttons trigger a certain event. Floating action buttons generally avoid destructive actions. In other words, you won’t find a floating action button with a trash icon.    

Twitter adopted the floating action button in their latest update, according to Luke Wroblewski (@LukeW). While some think floating menu plugins stick out like a sore thumb (@dagronf), others like how the button expands with more options (@harshil).   

Why Should SaaS Companies Adopt Floating Action Buttons?

Floating action buttons might seem insignificant. Floating action buttons are small compared to the rest of the website’s functions. However, their effects help users navigate. When implemented correctly, action menus are identifiable, accessible, and customizable.  

The shape, position, and color help distinguish action menus above the user interface (UI). The buttons became more popular after Google released material design principles in 2014. Many adopted action menus in web and mobile design, becoming a recognizable part of daily tasks.  

The ability for floating menu plugins to expand and animate makes users more engaged to their satisfaction. Floating action buttons aren’t attached to the surface of the UI, meaning they can disappear and reappear during transition or launch. You’ll find action menus on various screens in the same location as long as they’re relevant. 

Are you confused? Don’t worry. Let’s dive more into what action menus can do and give more insight into their benefits. 

It represents a hallmark action

If you’re going to use floating action buttons on your website, carefully consider the design of your app. You have to predict what actions the user might take and represent that in a singular, recognizable icon. At Usersnap for example, our floating action button feedback menu can be fully customized so that it fits the company’s brand (font, colors, size of button, button position, etc.). 

Usersnap in-product image of a feedback menu template

Floating action buttons are for the most frequently used actions or the primary characteristics of the app. Users should be able to successfully and efficiently complete a task using the button without throwing their hands in the air and having a negative experience. 

It’s a way-finding tool

Floating action buttons guide the way. These buttons are natural cues to tell the users what they should do next. Have you ever encountered an unknown screen before? It’s scary, but you often use feedback menus to navigate since they’re familiar and easy to use and give feedback to the company.

Floating menus are tell-tale signs of what to look for when navigating a different website page. Floating menus guarantee that people who visit won’t feel lost or confused. 

The floating action button gives a set of positive actions

Floating action buttons sometimes provide more than one action and spin out to expose other options related to the primary floating action button. You can design them to fit the user’s needs. Don’t go crazy when customizing a floating menu, limiting the separate actions to six. Generally, action menus present three choices.

Factor in the original floating menu and use the revealed actions as independent but still related. You could position any action that isn’t specific to the user into the toolbar to make the design cleaner.  

Floating action buttons generate contextual awareness

Context is a huge part of user interaction. Depending on your website, some users want to consume content, while others need to perform actions. 

Action menus bring out the best of any app, depending on the content. For example, when a user scrolls, the button disappears. When they stop scrolling, they might want to post or complete another action, so the button reappears. 

Connects two states

A floating action button isn’t just a cute little accessory at the bottom of the screen. They can transform based on what the user needs. Floating action buttons morph flawlessly and logically, maintaining the user’s orientation and helping them comprehend the change. 

feedback menus adjust based on the view’s layout, and users can see what triggered the change, and how to use it later. 

Employing a Floating Action Button With Usersnap

At Usersnap, our floating action button (feedback menu) is used explicitly to give end users options on how they want to give feedback, and our customers the opportunity to connect their toolstack and see the feedback across many teams (product teams, customer success teams, development teams, marketing teams, etc.).

So how does anyone use the feedback menu in Usersnap? 

Step 1: find feedback menu from the product page

It’s that easy. You’ll see it in the dashboard. Click on it, and check out the various templates that will help you navigate to floating menu success.

Usersnap steps to create a floating action button

Step 2: select the type of floating menu you want

You’ll see that the 3 predefined options we have are related to some use cases. Why? We based this off of customer feedback, hearing from our own users and what feedback menus work for them. With that in mind (and you’ll see this below), you can ALWAYS choose whichever projects you’d like.

Usersnap floating action button configuration step 2

Perhaps you’re looking to get bug reports from your users, or maybe even general satisfaction of your entire website offering. No matter the case, we have more than enough feedback collection templates for you to choose from to give your end users choices. This is the beauty of the feedback menu.

Usersnap floating action button configuration step 3

Say you need to integrate with Zendesk, or perhaps send the feedback directly to Jira or Slack. Sound familiar to you? Well if so, this can be done easily and smoothly. Sure, you’ll need to make sure your Usersnap integrations are set up in advance. After that though, you’ll be able to add exactly what you need to make sure the feedback goes to the right place, right team, and at the right time.

Step 4: configure your feedback menu floating action button

Customization is queen, king, and royalty. You can adjust the position of the feedback menu options, as well as the overall design, look and feel of the menu. Make it match your company brand (colors, fonts, etc.), and choose the button position you think makes most sense for you. Also an option: target your action menu to particular users at particular points in their journey. Pretty sweet huh? 

Usersnap floating action button configuration design step 4

Step 5: measure success (are you getting feedback?)

Let the feedback harvest begin! Your feedback menu should start giving you user insights to improve your website, product, app, and UI. Have a look at what type of feedback you’re getting more of, and use this as an indication to see what your users really want. 

Do they prefer talking to a customer success agent, or rather going directly to a bug report? Maybe they want to rate the satisfaction of their experience en masse. No matter the case, use this information to get perspective on what your offering is doing well, and where you can improve

Usersnap floating action button configuration step 5

After substantial user research, we needed to make some improvements. The steps above represent the improvements we made:

  1. The flow to create a floating action button feedback menu in Usersnap is now easier than ever.
  2. We added templates to make it super easy to create a feedback menu, based on what our customers do.
  3. Users can directly decide if they want to connect an existing project or have a new one automatically created.
  4. The configuration page is easier to understand and adjust, including moveable user feedback and all settings one the same page.
Gif to show how to setup a floating action button on Usersnap

How to Employ a Standard Action Menu Component

Firstly, you need to install a floating action button (npm install @material/fab). Then, you can dive into basic usages, such as loading material icons via Google Fonts. We won’t confuse you too much, but to summarize, you should look out for the following things.

You can use a floating action button with an HTML structure of either span, i, img, or svg. These elements are important to include or the icon might not center properly. From there, you can consider the style (@import “@material/fab/mdc-fab”;). 

Extended action menus must contain an appropriate label. Mixins customize the floating menu further, and you can adjust the color (mdc-fab-container-color($color)). Position the floating menu in the application design and help your website encourage and promote actions.   

Some specific customizations include: 

  • mdc-fab: mandatory for the button element
  • mdc-fab_ _icon: mandatory for the icon element
  • mdc-fab_ _label:  optional, for the text label 
  • mdc-fab–mini: modifies floating action button to a smaller size
  • mdc-fab–extended: modifies to a wider size, includes a text label
  • mdc-fab–exited: animates floating action button out of view, returns to view

Check out this Introduction to the Compose Snapshot system if you have further questions on integrating action menus into your website.

Best Practices for a Floating Action Button

Are you thinking of using floating menu plugins for your website or app? Keep reading to see some good habits to make a slick design while avoiding common mistakes.

Avoid “mystery meat” navigation

Don’t you hate when buttons or links don’t explain what they do? Yeah, we do too. Avoid unclear icons when creating action menus. Since you can only use icons, users sometimes don’t understand what they do specifically. Icons are really hard to understand because they’re so open to interpretation.

Universally recognized icons are rare, and people have to guess what they do, leaving a bad taste in their mouths. Make sure the floating menu plugins on your platform are relevant and understandable. 

Use only one floating action button per screen

Floating action buttons can distract you due to their design. You should only use one floating menu per page, or not at all. Remember, not every screen needs a floating menu because not every screen has an action. 

Choose an appropriate size that distinguishes the button and signals what it does as users browse through the different interfaces without disturbing their experience. 

Use the floating menu for only positive actions

As we mentioned, action menus are for positive actions like creating, sharing, or exploring. Floating action buttons don’t usually have deleting or archiving options. 

Remember that feedback menus carry out the representative action. They should be specific and complete. For example, copy and paste would be in a toolbar while posting a message is a floating action button. Users can ask questions on the Usersnap feedback widget menu if they are in doubt.

Other Examples on How To Use Floating Action Buttons on Websites

You can trigger floating action buttons by simply clicking on them. You enable beautiful animations that display specific actions, and users can share on social media, navigate floating menu buttons, perform downloads, and complete login forms. 

Having floating action buttons expands the website functionality without making the UI design too busy. Floating action buttons promote quick access with user-friendly, eye-catching, and engaging designs. 

Floatton

Floatton is an app that helps you create floating link buttons for easy accessibility throughout the website. You can find multiple features that create a responsive and smooth format on any browser or theme. Floatton works for mobile phones and tablets. The app is quick and easy, with no coding required for configuration. 

Icon button

Specific icon buttons depend on the selected channel type. Think about it this way: an add button on a blog page would write an article, whereas, for a calendar app, you would add an event. 

Add buttons in particular show multiple additional buttons when hovered over. Users can then navigate what their next steps are going to be easily and effectively.

Responsive card

Responsive cards are flexible and extensive, including options for headers and footers with various content. You have access to contextual background colors and display options. 

These cards give more functionality to your website, and you can customize the cards appropriately for better control and support. You can display content such as images, lists, text, and links. Additionally, the cards adapt to the screen size, providing more information.   

Angularjs material floating action directive

Action buttons have stunning animations like slide-in, fade, and zoom. You can add optional rippling effects, filling them with the accent color or other customizations. The Angularjs material floating action directive accomplishes just that.

You have more accessibility, and users find these options useful. You can better express your website and stand out from the crowd.

Full-screen search transition

Full-screen search is helpful to display, you guessed it, the full-screen search. The transition is smooth, well-designed, and accessible. Users can interact with the search function more frequently, and you’ll see higher customer satisfaction with increased page views.

The design works on all platforms and devices. Those who prefer to search using small, mobile devices will have better accessibility. 

Expando

Expando is a great button that has helpful utilities. Once clicked, it displays a new window that you can use for other functions, encouraging the user to take more critical actions. 

Other action buttons pop up, corresponding to what the user might want to do next in the process. What does that mean? You’ll get happier customers who stay on your website longer. 

Paper sheet morphing

Action menus quickly integrate into designs with neat animations. You can convert buttons into part of the format, extending from the entire screen. You can switch, reverse, or transform new sheets of material into action menus. This is how paper sheet morphing functions.

Template cards

Feedback menus give new card templates with every click, and you can add new elements to the design. It’s a convenient way to display content, and each card has different features, making it well-suited for presenting similar objects. 

The size and supported actions can vary, and you can post photos with captions. A basic card or image card conveys small bits of info, so you don’t scare away potential customers. 

Card – for blog post articles

Wait, aren’t these the same as responsive cards? Not quite. While responsive cards provide information in an approachable way, cards for blog posts allow users to share the content on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. 

Having a floating menu on WordPress, for example, ensures that your writing gets out there. Additionally, it makes the blog posts easier to share with other people who might not stumble across the information. 

Usersnap share buttons on the blog

Burger menus

Burger menus don’t list delicious sandwiches and French fries but rather are popular features on websites and mobile apps. Hamburger menus open with a triggered animation to reveal a navigation menu. 

You can see an action menu as a stack of three horizontal lines that resemble, yep, a burger. Burger menus have various pros and cons, but floating menu plugins are good alternatives for a website or mobile design.

Action buttons

Floating action buttons vary with different designs and animations. You can visually differentiate the primary and secondary options on buttons. Action buttons aren’t links, but the primary source that advocates the user to complete a certain action. 

Consider the placement and make the icon simple without any confusion. We all make mistakes, so allow the users to recover from accidents, such as making edits before finalizing. 

Multi-button pure-CSS

You can use a floating action button with CSS for social media sharing. These complex buttons display four additional buttons that lead to various networks. 

This allows you to organize your webpage with one parent button and other baby buttons. Consider the labels and confirm that users will know exactly what actions they should take next.

A button with checkbox (no-JSS)

Floating action buttons add unique functions to your website without making the format too overwhelming. You can enable the buttons to show up when you need them, then hide them when they’re not necessary for the current screen.

With the checkbox trick, you can toggle the button on and off. You have more customization, and users won’t be as annoyed when they want to focus on a task and not the floating action button in the right-hand corner.

Ionic material design

Feedback menus have multiple designs that correspond to various functions that improve the entire experience. You can adjust the buttons for specific tasks such as storage, sharing, social connection, advertising, and notifications.   

While these depend on your website and product, any business owner would love to know that they have more control over the buttons. 

Login forms

Floating menu plugins make login pages more unique. These buttons can help you successfully log in or register to an application in a more user-friendly approach. 

New users will appreciate the little nudge for certain tasks without having to navigate themselves if they’re unfamiliar with the process. 

Scroll animation

You can alter action menus to either add a scrolling animation effect to projects or have the button disappear entirely. Websites and apps can easily overwhelm us with bright colors and countless notifications. Floating action buttons allow us to focus on one task at a time, without needing to post or purchase something specific. 

It’s best to encourage the user to act when they’re ready without constantly reminding them of the presence of an action button. 

Leaflet material controls

Floating action buttons help you navigate a map with excellent actions that help you quickly go through controls, especially with leaflet material controls. These are easy to use and make your life a little bit easier, which we can all agree is a nice feature. You can zoom in and mark specific locations while keeping track of specific information. 

Final Thoughts

Floating action buttons help your website look more organized. Users can easily gauge what their next action should be through recognizable prompts. 

Customer satisfaction will improve, and your website will be more user-friendly after implementing the feedback menus with Usersnap.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding floating action buttons. 

How do you make a floating action button?

A floating action button needs a specific code and layout file. You can color a floating action button by customizing the theme’s color palette. Additionally, using XML attributes or corresponding methods can adjust the size, ripple effect, floating action button icon, and how it responds to button taps. 

What is a floating action button in Flutter?

A floating action button in Flutter carries the same qualities as what we’ve established. A floating action button is a circular icon button that hovers over content to promote a primary action to the user with one button per screen.

What are floating icons?

Floating icons represent the primary action of the app. You can use floating icons to promote specific functions. Most of the time, floating icons are circles that float above the UI, changing color and spinning out upon selection with more related options.  

Where do you put the floating action button?

Place floating action buttons on either the left, right, or center of the screen, depending on where you’re located. For example, if you read right to left or left to right.

They can transform from extended to standard with limited space. You can change the text font and shape as needed.