I'm trying to come up with a way to display a list of options to the user, where they have to pick one option. However, some of the options have compulsory sub options which also need to be selected.

I'm currently thinking of displaying the main/primary list as a standard select drop down (don't worry the image below is just a quick mock up - not final design/implementation):

enter image description here

Then, if the user selects an option with no sub options nothing further happens. However if they select an option with a sub option a list of the sub options is displayed in the form of radio buttons (so as to indiciate the sub option is compuslory and they can only pick one):

enter image description here

If they change the selected option in the drop down list to one that has no sub option then the radio buttons disappear.

I feel a bit indifferent about the above approach and was hoping for some input/ideas on alternative ways to display it. For more context, the options are referring to work Industry and Sub industry - where some industries is the first drop down and sub industries the radio buttons.

More context:

The first list represents a list of industries in the work force - for example "financial services" industry where there are many sub-industries within that industry - hence the need for some options.

Whereas there are also some industries in the first list that simply have no sub-industries, hence there is no need for a list of sub options.


  • Could you give some context on what they are selecting and why? Especially in regards to why some have sub-options and some don't? Thanks. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 7:13
  • Cool - I've expanded on the context :)
    – jpegasus
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 7:24
  • Thanks for the additional context - the top-level categories, can the user select more than one? Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 7:49
  • Good question -nope - only one top-level option/industry can be selected.
    – jpegasus
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 7:53

1 Answer 1


If they can only select one, I would go with a treeview type control, primarily because this allows you to display the top-level options, that they must select and not overload the user with sub-options they can't select, once the user has made their top-level select, I would then show those to the user.

For example:

Multi-level options

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