Should a delete action be displayed with common items even if it cannot explicitly be deleted?

Say I have a card to start that can be "copied" to produce a new one that I can enter stuff into. The following cards I can delete, but the original one I cannot.

Should the initial card show a delete button but not be actionable, or only display it on the cloned items?

Example seen here:

enter image description here


Only display it on the cloned items.

If there is no need for it to be on the original, don't display it. The user won't be able to close it, so presenting a close button that can never be used is confusing. I understand you could make the argument that it would match the other cards, but by preventing the original card from being closed you are differentiating that card already from the others behaviorally.


I think either way could work. Which option to choose depends on your actual use case. How is the user getting to this page, what is the end result when they're done, etc.

If the user is selecting an item to make copies of, you probably don't want the user deleting the base one through this workflow and should only display the remove on the clones. (Do not make the remove inconsistent by also acting as a cancel when performed on the base item. Cancel should be a separate, explicit action)

If this is the start of something (ex: new task list). You should let them remove the initial one and have a good Empty State that provides the ability to get back their default card.


Completely agree with Tony. It is better to avoid putting an extra element which doesn't have any action associated to that. Having a close icon gives a visual clue to the user for performing some action. Even if you put a delete icon as a disabled icon, the user may think that it will be enabled based his / her actions in future, but in your case it is not. so, avoid putting it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.