I am working on a party game for both PC (mouse+keyboard, which supports mouse over and clicks), but also for tablet (Android/iOS, which only supports clicks), but I am stuck on which UX pattern is be used throughout the game for the UI.

For the sake of the question, I am doing an example.

Imagine a well known party game, such as Werewolf or Mafia, etc, that is played using a digital device. There might be 5 people playing the game, each player is using their own device and has the game started on it. One of player is assigned the "game master", who controls the game.

Now, let's say all the players are in a "lobby" of some sort waiting for the actual game to start.

The only player that can "start" the game is the game master, so they obviously see a "start game" button;

enter image description here

But what should the rest of the players see?

I want to convey to the rest of the players that, the game can be started, but not by them, but by the game master.

I see 4 options;

1) Also see the action, but it is non-interactive disabled for them

But this may confuse the other players. They see the start button, they understand its disable, but don't know why it is disabled for them.

enter image description here

2) Also see the action, but it is interactive - Meaning, if clicked, a popup with information is displayed saying "You cannot start the game. Only the game master can start the game".

But this is weird, since it looks like it is disabled, but it is actually interact-able.

enter image description here

3) No action, but there is a help text instead for the rest of the players.

This is great, but in some situations, large amount of texts won't be possible, so does that mean it in those situations it defaults to 4) not showing anything?

enter image description here

4) The user simply doesn't see action or text at all, since they can't start the game.

But this gives no clue to the rest of the players, why the game is not starting, how who can start the game, etc.

I know this is a hard question to grasp, but my question is about action visibility.

Should non-available actions be displayed for players, so they know the action is there, but they can't do it for some reason. Or should the UI be minimalist and actions players cannot do, should simply not be displayed.

  • 3
    I'd go for #3..
    – PhillipW
    Jul 16, 2021 at 8:51
  • In the example case, I'd go for #3, like pretty much everyone else in the answers, but I think there's a wider discussion where an action is available to a multiple players, but not all of them - in which case I'd be tempted to go for #2. #2 would also be tempting during actual game play, especially if the person who can press the button changes.
    – dosxuk
    Jul 20, 2021 at 15:35

3 Answers 3


Your 3rd option is definitely the best. You want to make it clear that the game is awaiting an action from another player and they just need to wait (or shout across the room: "Hurry up will ya!").

If your concern is about having too much text, then just cut it down to something shorter, for example:

"Awaiting Game Master"

You could even consider some sort of "waiting" icon next to the text, like an hourglass or similar. This will help convey the requirement for the user to wait.


#3 is the only right answer. This way you will be keeping your user informed about what is going on (the "visibility of system status heuristic") without cluttering your layout with a useless button.


#3 Sounds the most intuitive. If there is no possible function, then why display it in the form of a button?

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