When a hyperlink is not available to a user is it best practice to hide it completely or show it in a disabled state.


If I user needs to be logged in to post a new item should the "Create item" link be visible to users who are not logged in? My thinking is not to show it at all, however would this no leave users who are no logged in searching for where they click to create a new item?

Example2: If a user needs to be logged in to like an item then it would not make sense to show the number of likes without also showing the thumbs up icon that is also the link to like an item.

1 Answer 1


In this situation, I tend to use the disabled state pattern. However, this still doesn't provide enough clarity as to why they can't post.

There should be a visual cue at the top of the page to inform the user that they cannot use the form. It is annoying to fill out a form only to find out it was a waste of time. This is explained well by Steve Krug in "Don't Make Me Think".

My practice is to use banners that indicate when a page has issues that deviate from what users' expected experience may be.

However, in my experience I have found that a warning is not enough, so I also started to use tooltips on the call to action button as well in case they missed the banner.

  1. Use visual indicator at the top of the form that is clear to see. Use clear language that explains why the experience may not be what they expect.
  2. (optional) Use Disabled states on the call to action so you can do "C"
  3. (optional) Use tooltips to communicate why the button doesn't work is "A" didn't get the users attention.

These are what I do in my designs.

  • Yes, I agree that disabled calls to action with tooltips are a great combination.
    – Dercni
    Aug 26, 2017 at 22:58

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