I've been struggling to find good examples of this online, basically, the issue I'm trying to solve is that I want to provide feedback to users on why they're unable to rearrange the order of their documents (in the outline) while they have filters set.

Normally users can rearrange the order by dragging, but when filters are turned on, it's too prone to mistakes, however simply disabling drag & drop doesn't feel like the right way to go either. The fact that filters are set is made clear through chips, but I don't think users will just understand that those filters relate to why they can't use drag & drop right now.

What I considered:

  • Change cursor to "unavailable" cursor while dragging (This doesn't explain why it doesn't work)
  • Show message such as "turn off filters to use dragging" in a temporary toast after trying to drop it (I don't want to waste the users time by first pretending everything is fine)
  • Show message such as "" on the drop location (same as above)
  • Show toast message once the user tries to drag the item (so far this feels most logical)

Would love advice! Thanks a lot.

3 Answers 3


Maybe draw the documents different, if a filter is set.

With filter, it looks like a list. It is uncommon to be able to drag and drop in a regular list. Without a filter, draw them like objects (with a border, maybe icon).


I would change the cursor to "unavailable" cursor when the user attempts to drag the item, & show a tooltip at the same location instead of a toast message ("turn off filters to use dragging"). This way the feedback feels more immediate.


I have disabled the field they are trying to use and display a small question mark by the field. On click or on hover, I display a small message explaining why they can’t perform the action they want.

  • Thanks for the answer Tim! Unfortunately I don't have one specific field I could do that for.
    – Cath
    Nov 25, 2020 at 7:09

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