Discover the essential input control elements for your UI designs

UI design has several purposes, the most important being smooth interaction within the application or website. Without interaction, an interface is merely a one-dimensional design. 

Interactions within an interface are designed in a way as to be recognized by the mental models of users. That’s why the buttons look like physical buttons on machines and touchscreen devices

Today we will look at the most essential input controls and how you can improve the user experience with special settings and better usability.

input control elements


Buttons are the most common interaction and input control elements in UI design. There are three basic categories of buttons: formal, semiformal and informal.  What differentiates them? The roundness of the corners. 

Naturally, people are attracted to curves because, cognitively, they are easier to assimilate. Corners have a more serious feel. Using these psychological aspects of shapes, we can apply them to buttons according to our target public. This technique can be applied to all the input controls in this article.

What happens when you press a physical button on a device? The status of the button changes; it may remain pushed down after being pressed, a light may come on after being pressed, or it may emit a sound and then pop back up. Digital buttons are reminiscent of physical buttons, so they must also have different statuses with haptic components for the senses. 

And don’t forget, you must design three buttons, not just one. The main button for all the important interactions in an interface. Then, a secondary button for use in forms or save/cancel controls. Finally, you need a third button for minimal and less important interactions. 

input control elements


Checkboxes are the elements that a user must click on to mark options and answers. They can either be single-choice, like in the case of an exam, or multiple-choice for a survey. Write the question in singular or plural so the user will know how to select the options in their answer.

When designing checkboxes in your project, remember that there is limited click space. Improve accessibility to the checkbox by expanding the click space into the descriptive text of each option. Add a status for when the mouse is hovering over the words by changing the color slightly, confirming the possibility of being able to click on the text.

One of the most common uses for an interface with checkboxes is the design of forms with many questions. Create separations with clear categories by using darker and larger text.

Improve the quality of the experience by adding color and/or a click counter. When a box is selected, have it change color and remain this way unless the user reverts it back to default. Add a counter to show how many boxes have been selected or how many categories/pages there are in the whole form.

input control elements


Domestic switches were the inspiration for toggles in digital designs. A button with two positions changes the status of a certain device; in our homes, electricity. Digital toggles have the same function as turning something on or off. 

This input control has evolved, now used to answer yes or no to any question. It is ideal for the system preferences in an app or program, where users can select the status by turning usability functions on and off.

This visual control, like all the elements on this list, depends on obvious status changes such as color, significant elements and changes in size. You can add visuals representing yes and no, such as a check and a cross. 

input control elements

Dropdown lists

The majority of digital menus we come across daily include dropdown lists. They are essential. And what about mega menus with several dropdowns?

The open and close statuses of lists must not be confusing or complicated. The different mouseover statuses must be subtle. Reduce mouseover actions, only adding them to the highest categories in the menu.

 Dropdown lists are mostly browsing links on a website. Clicks and mouseovers must be linked to the interactions. When a list is opened, the previous one closes without creating unnecessary interface levels.

input control elements


Finally, we have slider controls. We use them in video editors, redaction programs and for settings on platforms with preferences and edit windows. They range from the smallest screen brightness controls to infinite sliders in extremely long texts or videos in the editing process.

Sliders, like buttons, can have more serious or informal qualities, depending on how curved their corners are. The combination of colors between the button and the slider area shows users the scroll position on the interface. Sliders can be moved by dragging them with the mouse, and a haptic component should show the correct hover position on the movable button.

Create input control UI elements with Flaticon

On Flaticon you have access to icons representing buttons and many more input controls. But did you know they are also UI elements? Download the icon in SVG format and add it to your design in Figma. With the vector editing controls, transform the icon to the size you need and add animations to demonstrate its function.

Use the illustrative interface icons offered by Flaticon for all your mockups and wireframes. Save time in creating prototypes by using editable UI elements in SVG format. With a Premium subscription, you can access all the personally and commercially licensed icons.