Considering this case, in which we don't expect the items to be very many (mostly 1-2, but can get to 5-6 tops, and there can only be one favorite: default The order of the items is the one in which they have been created.

Version A establishes a fixed spot where you can always find your default and could also use direct manipulation to set the default, while version B keeps the consistency of the positioning of items in the interface.

Which one is a better practice?

p.s. this case is in the context of a 'preferences' section, where the user would come to change default settings.

  • It would depend entirely on the context. What are the items? What else can you do on that screen except see and change your default item?
    – Franchesca
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 10:54
  • The items are default origin address, that are used in the main flow to save time from completing the actual address. On that screen you can also edit and delete the items
    – bumbledy
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 11:02

2 Answers 2


If you're changing the order of items that means the options are going to keep jumping around the place whenever you make a change. This is just confusing.

OK, in your example it's pretty obvious that '2' will come after '1' and before '3', but you won't be using numbers here - you'll have options like 'Email', 'SMS', 'Phone' etc. Users won't know that the 'SMS' options standard home is between EMAIL and PHONE, so when it's unselected they would have to hunt for where it's returned to.

Also, as you only a maximum of 6, it's not going to be hard to find these items. It might be different if you've got a big list of all the countries in the world, but in those cases you'd use a different pattern.

  • well, the items are instances of the same type, their order is not necessarily relevant, but i agree that stuff jumping around makes it very confusing
    – bumbledy
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 11:06
  • The fact that the order isn't necessarily relevant is exactly my point - a user has no way of knowing where to look in the list for a particular item. Which makes it especially hard to find things if their position isn't constant.
    – JonW
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 11:36

To me "B" makes more sense. As it is not changing the order(user already know the order; plus point) but just highlighting. I'd further suggest to make the highlighted ones bigger in size and distinct in background color or other attributes. Also, selected one must always be available to the users upfront.

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