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Text-shadow on buttons

Even though we're seeing the flat design approach more than ever I keep seeing the use of text-shadows, specially on buttons (e.g. apple.com or even teamtreehouse.com itself). I know the purpose of it is to enhance contrast, therefore legibility. But I wonder how much mandatory (a strong word, I know) it is from the usability point of view.

Has anyone worked around the text-shadow on a project recently?

1 Answer

For me when it's something interactive it gives the sense of something more tangible and 3 dimensional and so encourages interaction. When I'm building simulations, information text tends to be left without any effects at all but I always find users respond better to interactive elements with text if the text itself has real texture to it, e.g. shadows or some other emphasis or texture. So there's probably some kind of cognition there where the user expects to be able to "touch" it in some way as opposed to merely communicating information.