Should "Reset settings" or "Reset to default" be disabled if the user has not made any updates/changes to default settings?

  • Why are you showing the button before any changes have been made?
    – user68158
    Sep 7 '18 at 14:17
  • Do you have specific context, or at least on what elements is the design for? Filter, search, something other
    – xul
    May 5 '19 at 18:33


The other option being leave it enabled and then tell them nothing changed? - Annoying. Leave it enabled and do nothing? - Lack of feedback can drive people mad.

Users basically need to know what they can and cannot do, and generally won't appreciate you wasting their metabolism.

However, it ALWAYS depends on the larger context. There are cases where you allow users do something that 'won't work' - like this site allows you to upvote even if you are not registered, only to tell you you need to register. There are better examples.

  • 1
    While upvoting while not logged in and being told to log in might be an example of frustrating lack of functionality, resetting an empty form is no such case, as I've written in my answer below. And isn't the information that a button is disabled now but might become enabled later more of a "waste of metabolism"?
    – Orphevs
    Sep 6 '18 at 22:18


Seeing a button and realizing it is disabled, thinking about under what circumstances it might become enabled, and remembering the supposed functionality are small, but unnecessary tasks for the user.

Since the button's action if clicked can be understood as "set the whole form to its initial state", there's no reason to disallow users to click it while the form is already in that state. No harm is caused by resetting an empty form, and the user doesn't have to pay attention to the mechanism of enabling the reset button when input is given.

If the button was to refresh the site for example, and users are expecting that behaviour, then disabling the button would unnecessarily obstruct the user from achieving this side goal. While this is a minor issue to add, it might be important, depending on your user demographics.

  • I agree. People don't want to think about whether they changed something. They want to click a button which tells them that now, everything is reset to normal. Depending on context, I'd even add functionality that shouldn't be necessary but may still be, like restarting/refreshing, deleting caches or usage data and such. Or even checking and defaulting external settings the program needs. This way, even in unchanged settings, the button can help solving issues. May 5 '19 at 18:48

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