So I'm creating a dashboard that will allow users to sort through by date as long as the "live monitoring" feature is paused. I created 2 buttons, one for the pause/unpause feature and one for the "sort by date" feature. I am wondering if users will be able to tell that the buttons are dependent on each other in order to be used (User must pause before being able to sort) enter image description here

Is there a better way to let users understand that these two buttons are related to each other while keeping the two features separated?

2 Answers 2


Associate buttons visually

This question only makes sense in a context and this answer is in reference to this context. Out of this context there are only four buttons: the question makes no sense at all and there is no possible answer other than putting the buttons closer together. I propose to study in depth the Gestalt laws and try to put them into practice.

In context:

Gestalt law of proximity

Objects or shapes that are close to one another appear to form groups


Gestalt law of similarity

Perception lends itself to seeing stimuli that physically resemble each other as part of the same object


Gestalt law of common region

When objects are located within the same closed region, we perceive them as being grouped together

comon region

Gestalt law of closure

When we look at a complex arrangement of visual elements, we tend to look for a single, recognizable pattern.


More about Gestalt Laws

  • So, what is your suggestion to OP's problem? Presumably, OP has already implemented your "proximity" example. Could you elaborate on whether or not you feel the current design works as illustrated, or what you think could be done to improve upon it? These examples are nice, but they lack any explanation or application to OP's situation. Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 16:27
  • As you say, presumably. In the example image there are only four buttons, only the OP knows what's around them. If above those buttons there is a working area, and to the left and right more rectangular blue and gray buttons, none of the examples exposed in my answer are fulfilled. That's why at the beginning of my answer I put: in context.
    – Danielillo
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 16:51
  • @Danielillo So what youre saying is, as long as i follow these principles/laws, the user should be able to interpret the buttons as being related to one another?
    – Gene
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 18:20
  • Answer updated.-
    – Danielillo
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 18:25

Keeping the laws of proximity and common region in mind, I would suggest using a switch instead of a button for pausing and unpausing live monitoring.


  • The switch is a better pattern for turning things on and off.
  • It takes up less space so you could group it with the dropdown.

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