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I have a form that allows internal users to select from a list of subscribers to send emails to.

Each subscriber has their own set of preferences as to which emails they want to be subscribed to. For some subscribers, they have chosen to block all sorts of emails/communication.

In this form, would it be better to:

  1. Remove the subscribers who have blocked communication so internal users won't be able to select them.

The downside to this is users may wonder why certain subscribers do not appear in the list.

  1. List every subscriber including the ones who have blocked communication, but if the user selects them, show an error (eg - "This subscriber has blocked communications so they cannot be added." Not the final copy, but you get the idea.)

  2. List every subscriber including the ones who have blocked communication, but the subscribers with blocked communication are disabled with some helper text explaining why they're disabled.

The downside to this is we're working with a basic Material UI autocomplete textfield, so we'll probably have to come up with some sort of customization for it to accommodate the helper text.

The downside to this is allowing the users to select certain subscribers only to get into an error state.

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  • The downside to this is we're working with a basic Material UI autocomplete textfield, so we'll probably have to come up with some sort of customization for it to accommodate the helper text. --> Although I understand where you're coming from with this, the moment some UI library is keeping me away from optimizing my UI for my users, the library is out. Of course, the UI designer is not always the one in charge of that decision.
    – Kriem
    Jun 25, 2022 at 12:20

2 Answers 2

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Show the subscribers

If it's important for the user to know that these subscribers exist, but have opted out on receiving a message, then I would indeed display them in the list, but in a disabled state. Allow the user to select those subscribers nonetheless and communicate that they have opted out of receiving a message, so that the user understands what is going on.

Don't show the subscribers

If it's not important for the user to know that these subscribers exist (i.e. we can safely ignore them as a whole), then It's best to not show them in the list, as nothing can or should be done with them.

Important vs. Not important

The key difference between it being important and not important to know, is if the user can or should act upon the knowledge. Does knowing these subscribers exist and having themselves opted out, affect the user sending out the messages in any way? If so, then it's important they know the subscribers exist. Otherwise, it's not. You should ask this question to make a decision on whether or not to show the subscribers.

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    I like the third point here: now that the users know this bit of information, are going to take any action informed by it? If yes, show them the "unsubscribed" audience, if not, I'm sure the users have other means to find out this information, and it would better to leave the form clean and usable without having unused information in the way of the main action (sending an email).
    – Adriano
    Jul 3, 2022 at 9:20
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What you can do is keep all subscribers in the same list (option 2), but instead of making the user select them and get a warning that they blocked communications, you can simply grey out the text of that subscriber. This way, you can have a list that shows all subscribers, but indicate which ones can be sent an email and which ones are blocked without needing any extra action.

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