Cards as Buttons

Interface patterns give you an opportunity to explore different interface designs. Be sure to check out How to Adapt a Pattern for Your Application.

Goal

The cards as buttons pattern is a great way to prominently display a select few choices. This page explains how you can use this pattern in your interface, and walks through the design structure in detail.

The cards as buttons pattern is a great way to prominently display a select few choices. This page explains how you can use the cards as buttons pattern in your interface, and walks you through the design structure of the pattern in detail.

Cards can be used as an alternative to choice inputs like radio buttons. Cards make it easier to show clear explanations for each choice, aided by icons and styled text. They can also be used as an alternative to links for navigation, providing larger click targets for mouse users that require less effort to select.

This pattern allows you to easily keep card styles consistent for better clarity by aligning the cards the same way and keeping the amount of content and icons in sync. This pattern is also handy because it has saveInto's built in to allow you to easily switch user selections to another form if you need to. You only have to edit card layout details once since the pattern creates multiple cards using a!forEach().

cards_as_buttons_pattern_orig.png

Design Structure

The main components in this pattern are rich text display fields and card layouts. The image below displays how the pattern looks on a blank interface with callouts of the main components. You can examine the entire expression or jump down to the subsections below with referenced line numbers to see a detailed breakdown of the main components.

cards_as_buttons_pattern.png

Pattern Expression

When you drag and drop the cards as buttons pattern onto your interface, 107 lines of expressions will be added to the section where you dragged it.

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{
  a!localVariables(
    local!options: {
      {icon: "home", name: "House", desc: "A single family home, townhouse, or duplex"},
      {icon: "building", name: "Condo", desc: "A multi-family building in which you own a unit"}
    },
    local!selectedCard,
    {
      a!richTextDisplayField(
        labelPosition: "COLLAPSED",
        value: {
          char(10),
          char(10),
          a!richTextItem(
            text: "Is your home a house or a condo?",
            color: "ACCENT",
            size: "LARGE"
          ),
          char(10),
          char(10)
        },
        showWhen: isNull(local!selectedCard),
        align: "CENTER"
      ),
      a!columnsLayout(
        columns: {
          a!columnLayout(),
          a!forEach(
            items: local!options,
            expression: a!columnLayout(
              contents: {
                a!cardLayout(
                  contents: {
                    a!richTextDisplayField(
                      labelPosition: "COLLAPSED",
                      value: {
                        char(10),
                        char(10),
                        a!richTextIcon(
                          icon: fv!item.icon,
                          color: "#8CA1D0",
                          size: "LARGE"
                        ),
                        char(10),
                        char(10),
                        a!richTextItem(
                          text: fv!item.name,
                          color: "ACCENT",
                          size: "LARGE",
                          style: "STRONG"
                        ),
                        char(10),
                        char(10),
                        a!richTextItem(
                          text: fv!item.desc,
                          size: "SMALL"
                        )
                      },
                      align: "CENTER"
                    )
                  },
                  link: a!dynamicLink(
                    saveInto: a!save(local!selectedCard, fv!item.name)
                  ),
                  height: "MEDIUM"
                )
              },
              width: "MEDIUM"
            )
          ),
          a!columnLayout()
        },
        showWhen: isNull(local!selectedCard),
        marginBelow: "STANDARD"
      ),
      a!richTextDisplayField(
        value: local!selectedCard & " next steps would appear here",
        showWhen: not(isNull(local!selectedCard)),
        align: "CENTER"
      ),
      a!richTextDisplayField(
        labelPosition: "COLLAPSED",
        value: {
          char(10),
          char(10),
          a!richTextIcon(
            icon: "arrow-left",
            link: a!dynamicLink(
              saveInto: a!save(local!selectedCard, null)
            ),
            linkStyle: "STANDALONE",
            color: "ACCENT"
          ),
          a!richTextItem(
            text: " Go back",
            link: a!dynamicLink(
              saveInto: a!save(local!selectedCard, null)
            ),
            linkStyle: "STANDALONE"
          )
        },
        showWhen: not(isNull(local!selectedCard)),
        align: "CENTER"
      )
    }
  )
}

[Line 1-7] Defining Options and Selections

At the top of the pattern, local variables set up the options the user can choose (local!options) and the actual option the user selects (local!selectedCard).

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{
  a!localVariables(
    `local!options`: {
      {icon: "home", name: "House", desc: "A single family home, townhouse, or duplex"},
      {icon: "building", name: "Condo", desc: "A multi-family building in which you own a unit"}
    },
    `local!selectedCard`,

[Line 8-24] Rich Text Display Field Header

The first visible component is a rich text display field that shows only when local!selectedCard is null (line 177). In other words, if the user has not selected an option. Use this field to describe the choice the user is making when they select a card.

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    {
      a!richTextDisplayField(
        labelPosition: "COLLAPSED",
        value: {
          char(10),
          char(10),
          a!richTextItem(
            text: "Is your home a house or a condo?",
            color: "ACCENT",
            size: "LARGE"
          ),
          char(10),
          char(10)
        },
        `showWhen: isNull(local!selectedCard)`,
        align: "CENTER"
      ),

[Line 25-75] Loop Over Card Layouts

We then usea!forEach() to loop over each card layout with rich text items that display an icon and text in a!columnlayout(). Each card layout also has a dynamic link that saves the user's selection.

An additional blank column is used on either side of the cards for spacing and to keep them centered. If you modify this pattern to have a larger number of options, you may want to remove the blank columnLayouts on line 27 and line 71.

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      a!columnsLayout(
        columns: {
-         a!columnLayout(),
          `a!forEach`(
            items: local!options,
            expression: a!columnLayout(
              contents: {
                a!cardLayout(
                  contents: {
                    a!richTextDisplayField(
                      labelPosition: "COLLAPSED",
                      value: {
                        char(10),
                        char(10),
                        a!richTextIcon(
                          icon: fv!item.icon,
                          color: "#8CA1D0",
                          size: "LARGE"
                        ),
                        char(10),
                        char(10),
                        a!richTextItem(
                          text: fv!item.name,
                          color: "ACCENT",
                          size: "LARGE",
                          style: "STRONG"
                        ),
                        char(10),
                        char(10),
                        a!richTextItem(
                          text: fv!item.desc,
                          size: "SMALL"
                        )
                      },
                      align: "CENTER"
                    )
                  },
                  link: `a!dynamicLink`(
                    saveInto: a!save(local!selectedCard, fv!item.name)
                  ),
                  height: "MEDIUM"
                )
              },
              width: "MEDIUM"
            )
          ),
-         a!columnLayout()
        },
        showWhen: isNull(local!selectedCard),
        marginBelow: "STANDARD"
      ),

[Line 76-107] Using Rich Text Display Fields for Selected Options

There are also two more rich text display fields that only display once an option is selected. This is the part of the interface to modify or replace with whatever the next stage of your form is.

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      a!richTextDisplayField(
        value: local!selectedCard & " next steps would appear here",
        showWhen: not(isNull(local!selectedCard)),
        align: "CENTER"
      ),
      a!richTextDisplayField(
        labelPosition: "COLLAPSED",
        value: {
          char(10),
          char(10),
          a!richTextIcon(
            icon: "arrow-left",
            link: a!dynamicLink(
              saveInto: a!save(local!selectedCard, null)
            ),
            linkStyle: "STANDALONE",
            color: "ACCENT"
          ),
          a!richTextItem(
            text: " Go back",
            link: a!dynamicLink(
              saveInto: a!save(local!selectedCard, null)
            ),
            linkStyle: "STANDALONE"
          )
        },
        showWhen: not(isNull(local!selectedCard)),
        align: "CENTER"
      )
    }
  )
}
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