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Say you are in Linkedin's Network page. (If you log onto Linkedin and click on "network")

Let's hypothetically say that Linkedin contains both people already on the platform and people outside of the platform (somehow linkedin is able to make faux profiles from your email contacts or something).

Let's now say that there are only 2 actions that you can perform on the network page.

  1. Invite a person to join linkedin
  2. Invite a person to join an interests group you've created.

You now want to invite Bob to your interest group but he IS NOT on Linkedin. You are presented with the option to both invite Bob to the interest group and to invite Bob to Linkedin. You go ahead and invite him to the interest group which directly sends him an invite to both join Linkedin and your interest group.

Now you want to invite Jon to your interest group but he IS on Linkedin. You are only presented with the option of inviting him to the interest group and no option of inviting him to Linkedin, obviously because he's already on the system.

How would you best portray the various options to the user on the network page, since the options are situational? Along with what would be the best solution to visually portray the uneven amount of options?

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Maybe a wireframe would help to understand which problem should be solved? Not sure only looking at one screen will help as this sound more like a user flow issue. I can think of various scenarious here, e.g. inviting users as a group moderator from a group moderation page, inviting from my list of contacts, from a search result page, from an uploaded list of email addresses etc. –  greenforest Dec 26 '13 at 10:55

2 Answers 2

It might be better not to hide unavailable options. Static list is better, moreover it will also educate the user a bit. Unavailable options can be simply grayed out.

I'll use hosting plans as an example (just to save some time and skip unleavened mock-ups).

All options is available:

enter image description here

Some options are not available:

enter image description here

Other techniques (like for example using perspective) can be used in order to highlight available options:

enter image description here

If there is a need you can always provide short message or graphics explaining why some option is disabled.

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This is an interesting question, since you can interpret it in several ways. I'll focus on the linked-in example where you have "two scenarios":

  1. You want to invite someone who is already on linked-in to join a group
  2. You want to invite someone who is not on linked-in to join a group

If you step back a bit and think about the use case, you might consider that this can be represented as a single use case "I, as a linked-in member, want to invite Bob to my interest group", and this makes sense, since you already know Bob. It just happens that Bob might or might not be registered in the platform (linkedin).

Since this is a single use case, you don't need two different buttons. A possible implementation would be using a single field that once I started typing it would show me the photos of all my contacts. If someone was not on the platform, then I would have to write the email.

Since you should be transparent to your users, you should let them know that you are sending an email.

enter image description here

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