I'm dealing with a case where it is absolutely mandatory that a user answers "yes" or "no". For instance, a question like "Were the police called?" needs a solidified response. An easy way to do this would be to require a radio button selection.. however I'm working with a mobile app.

The downside to switch/toggle buttons is there's a chance it may be overlooked and unintentionally answered as "no".

What is a work around to this? Are radio buttons OK on mobile? To make matters worse, the user persona for this application is a technology novice construction worker.

  • Uh, sorry but if a switch is accidentally identified as off when it's on or the other way round it's a bad switch design. You're trying to solve the wrong problem.
    – Yates
    Jul 18, 2018 at 14:28
  • Are there multiple, unconditional questions being asked that all need binary answers?
    – Crissov
    Jul 19, 2018 at 15:20

3 Answers 3


Radio buttons may not be 'sexy', but they get the job done with no room for user-interpretation. If you have a choice between 2-3 options, then radio buttons are ideal. They ensure that a user sees all their options, and once they make a choice, they can clearly see which option they selected. If you have a lot more options, you'll have to consider using a different type of component though.

You can use radio buttons in multiple ways: with the controls next to each other:

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Or underneath one another. This leaves more space for additional elements and makes for a more scannable list. It does take more space though:

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I'd reserve toggle buttons for when you want to turn something on or off, like an actual toggle. Yes or no, for example, is not a toggle, but a choice or statement.

  • 2
    I think the last part is key, there's a subtle distinction between switches and radios in that radios are for making a choice while switches are for toggling or setting a value. They could be used interchangably but intuitively there is a difference.
    – DasBeasto
    Jul 18, 2018 at 12:23

Switches are a preferred way to adjust settings on mobile and sometimes are used for on/ off or yes/ no options.

In your case, you said you can also have complex questions, so I think it is preferable to use radio buttons.

In Toggle-Switch Guidelines, Nielsen Norman Group synthesize all in this table:

enter image description here

You can also see on Material Design Guidelines that radio buttons are ok on mobile:



In deed there's no problem with radio buttons in mobile apps, maybe they aren't very fancy but they work due to its simplicity analog use in real life forms, even more for users that are not super familiarized with newer mobile components.

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