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Disabled buttons

March 20, 2019 at 9:03am

Disabled buttons

March 20, 2019 at 9:03am

Quick poll: from a UX standpoint, are disabled buttons a good user experience to have or no? I’m hearing a mix of opinions. From accessibility, do screen readers skip it? Or does it get coded as “dimmed button”? Other comments I’ve heard - why have a disabled button if you can’t click on it? Would rather not show it at all. Is there a usecase for having disabled buttons?

Thanks in advance, Hannah


March 20, 2019 at 9:27am

Disabled button is useful to inform the users that there are options or function is available if the users made certain choice. For example, in credit card application, supplementary card is applicable for customer that choose Gold or Silver member but not for Bronze member. If we hide the supplementary card button for Bronze, the users wouldn't aware they need to upgrade their membership for supplementary card.

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I agree with what @khe says. A disabled button signifies that there is a scenario where it can in fact be activated and thus requires some kind of user action.

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From my experience, disabled buttons are the right pattern when you want to give a hint to the user that there's stuff to be done in order to move to the next step. The sequence of actions that lead to the button being activated has to be super quick (think payment form). Otherwise, if it takes too long the button will just stand there in its disabled mode, and that's a lost opportunity to guide the user towards the main action of the screen. In this case, I prefer having the button in its normal state and a tooltip/banner/modal/etc to give him feedback and inform him about the remaining steps he has to take.

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^^^+ make it clear right next to the button why it's locked, esp if your audience is not very tech familiar - I've witnessed enough testing sessions where users would mash that button and give up in frustration when it "wouldn't click"...

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