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Building an application form for internal trained agents to help on-board new clients. Many pages of input, lots of info to add. 95% of fields are mandatory.

My design called for mandatory fields to be the default, with only optional fields being called out. Business did not like that, so now 95% of the field labels have a little red asterisk.

The application is very dynamic, so previous selections affect not only subsequent hide/show states but also mandatory/optional states.

Many buttons are Yes/No toggles. Often, a previous choice means the Yes/No decision is made for the user. So a toggle button might be auto-selected to Yes and disabled.

All that for a simple question:

If a toggle button has been auto-selected and auto- disabled, should it still have an asterisk to denote that it's mandatory?

I can go both ways.

To a typical (trained) user, "mandatory" could mean:

  • this option must be actively chosen by me, therefore an asterisk on a disabled field is unexpected.
  • this button must merely have an option selected (passive); it is not necessary to tell me something I don't need to know.

Opinions?

  • Does that toggle button always get auto-selected and disabled? Can the user go back in the form and change previous selections or not? If a user's previous selection was different, will this toggle button be enabled and user has to make the selection? – Mo'ath Apr 12 at 18:24
  • Disabled doesn't mean empty, so normally I would go with keeping the required mark. In this case, it is impossible to have an empty value, so I think is ok to don't display the asterisk. – Madalina Taina Aug 10 at 19:42
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I would say no, a disabled toggle button should not be shown as required.

A red asterisk around a UI element typically means that the user is required to select an option in order to continue. If a button has been auto-selected and then disabled, the user can't select an option, even though the red asterisk indicates that they have to select an option. Those two just don't mix.

this button must merely have an option selected (passive); it is not necessary to tell me something I don't need to know.

I agree with the last part: the user doesn't need to know that the option is required if they can't change it at all. While it is true that the field is required, the field's value has already been chosen and is now immutable. There's no point in telling the user they have to chose an option for something whose option has already been chosen and cannot be changed.

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No, there is no need for it to be marked as mandatory, unless, in the same screen (or going back) you also have other toggles that actually disable the selected state for that item, or you can in any way unselect that same item. I would not advise letting the mandatory state indicator appear and disappear when you change an option. If something is mandatory, it remains mandatory. Can you imagine a user seeing an option as not mandatory then deselect a button somewhere else and submit just to discover that submission failed because the said option has "mandatorized" suddenly?

"Heck I would swear that was not mandatory one second ago!"

That said, if the mandatory state is satisfied and the option cannot be unselected, there is no need to display it's mandatory.

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