A “ghost button” is an easy way of referring to transparent parts of a site that can be clicked. If you're wondering why the special term would be needed, it's because ghost buttons are actually becoming a very popular trend in web design for 2015. Here are a few of the characteristics of a ghost button:

  • Hollow, with an outline.
  • Small amount of text.
  • Typically white or black.
  • Works well with flat designs.
The Good News in Ghost Buttons

So What Makes Them Popular?

  • They look clean. As mentioned, these buttons tend to be hollow blocks with very simple text inside of them, usually white or black, which matches well with virtually any background color option. White works well in particular with bolder site presentations that want to provide that up to date, modern OS chic that is part of the appeal of flat design user interfaces.
  • They work with nearly every design, and they make that design look even more modern than it may already be. You can use ghost buttons on solid backgrounds, or image backgrounds, or even parallax, scrolling backgrounds. There are so many different applications for them that you'll be hard pressed to think of where they wouldn't end up fitting.
  • You can adjust the thickness of the button if you want it to have a stronger presence on a more complex image field. That's great for designers that want to make a very bold, very singular presentation on their site without sacrificing their buttons and their navigation in the process.
  • They have a strong point of focus, making them ideal for calls to action, survey forms, and more. They're a very nice fit on sites where you don't want to distract from your key message while keeping the flow of user interaction to a very predictable pattern of clicks and navigation.
The Good News in Ghost Buttons

But...

  • They're easy to hide, if you aren't careful with their placement. You don't want the button to be too invisible. It's only called a ghost button because it doesn't have a background, not because you need special ghost hunting equipment to find it on the page. If the buttons aren't well integrated into your site, your users may not even realize that they're buttons at all. Make them bold.
  • They're also easy to bloat. In this case, we're referring to the tendency to make them too thick or prominent over the image that they're on top of. That can distract from that image, and it can also just make the site look worse in general.
The Good News in Ghost Buttons

Ghost buttons are a popular trend, as we've mentioned, which means that you may be interested in them, but that you'll also want to look for ways to set your own implementation of them apart from the crowd. If you're smart about where you put them, and how visible they are, you will definitely appreciate the end results with just about any design you might have in mind.