Protection and comfort, in any order you choose - that is why a cyclist will wear cycling gloves. If you've ever fallen off a bike at speed, ridden for over 2 hours without a break, or headed out into cooler weather, then you will know the truth of this statement.
For road riders, cycling 'mitts' are where it is at. Comfortable and cool for long days on the bike, you'll feel the benefit post ride, and if you do decide to opt for a little tarmac skating, then your hands will still function afterwards.
For city cyclists and trail riders, the preference is normally for a full finger glove. Offering added protection and greater bike control, they will often sport welcome features like reflective piping, generous palm padding and some weather resistance.
As with the other items in your now growing cycle clothing collection, just spend a moment thinking about where and when you ride. Making a decision based on riding habits and local terrain is the best way to ensure you end up with the most suitable cycling glove.