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I have an interface with a list of menu items which will take a user to different product features. The features a categorized as follows:

  1. Feature' access is controlled with user role (roles don't change very often if at all for any particular user).
  2. Features' access is controlled based on the state of an app. For example if a user has completed all of their prep tasks after signing up, they will be allowed to use certain features.
  3. Features generally available to a user, but there are periods of time where they may be disabled due to application's state
  4. Features are paid for and user is required to purchase a subscription to them. If the user didn't pay, they can't use it.

Which of these 4 categories would be appropriate to remove from menu items and which should be visible, but clicking on them would somehow communicate to user that they are unavailable (with some explanation message as to why)

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There are some points not entirely clear in the question:

  • Why should some menu categories be removed?
  • Point two with the example is rather a user state (incompleted tasks by them), not the application

In any case, the proposal would not be at the UX level in the first instance, but at the marketing level. Have you talked to the marketing team? Because at this point the answer is very clear in my opinion:

  1. User Role Feature → undoubtedly they must be
  2. User State Feature → I don't think it's necessary, just a toast message above the menu that says "remember there are hidden features until you complete all the tasks"
  3. App State Features → disabled/grayed out
  4. Paid Features → if this is part of the app's business, it's a must they should be not only visible but highlighted

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