I'm in doubt whether I should use buttons or radio buttons combined with a single button.

I could go with the buttons, as shown below, but I think this confusing.

Button version

Another option would be the radio buttons. I think this option is better because I can remember the choice the user made and the user only has one button to click each time.

Radio buttons version

I would like to hear your opinion, which option would you consider to be be more user friendly?

Is there another way I can solve this problem?


The buttons will each launch the same application but each version has a different layout.

  • You're adding an extra click in the second example, too. How often is this menu to be used? That would determine how helpful the radio button's "memory" may be.
    – Ben Brocka
    Sep 23, 2011 at 14:03

3 Answers 3


Will the interface change after a radio button is selected? For example, will a section of explanatory text appear that gives the user a preview of what will occur when they hit 'launch'? If so, I would say use design 2.

Otherwise, use design 1. It's simpler to use and understand. I am confused when you say you can't show what the user clicked last time in this design...of course you can. Just highlight the appropriate button and/or make it the default if that makes sense (e.g. if it's a dialog box).

  • It might be a good idea to show a preview of the layout depending on which radio button is selected.
    – Kevin
    Sep 23, 2011 at 15:44

It does depend on what the launching process involves. If they are separate executables, then the first option is a better one, because the button clicked is reflected in the executable launched. And this is the route that MS often use in their installation-type processes. I don't especially like it, unless the buttons are clear - that is, it is made immediately clear that I need to click one of the buttons to progress.

If, however, you are running one application and need therefore to simply record which version you are impersonating or running as, then the former may be a better route, becasue, IMO, this indicates more clearly that you are selecting a style and then running against this.

I think this is also the right approach from a UX perspective, because each style implies what is going on behind the scenes. So use Radio buttons if it is options, and buttons if it is applications.

  • It's one application but there are different layouts. Would the radio buttons still be the way to go?
    – Kevin
    Sep 23, 2011 at 15:33
  • I would say yes. It indicates that you are choosing a Style, and that you cannot return to this page and load another one, which is what the buttons imply to me - because of the MS use of them. Sep 23, 2011 at 15:35

You can use a dropdown list which upon selection generates/updates the button value. The button will serve as a confirmation of the user's selection.

If you don't need the confirmation, then selecting from the drop-down list could directly trigger the function you want to implement.

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