We are currently building a learning platform that has two membership tiers. Let’s call them basic and premium. With premium you get quite a bit more features and access to additional content.

Obviously, we want the users to upgrade from our basic to our premium membership. What we don’t know is how to best achieve that while keeping a good experience.

  • Should we hide all premium features/content and just put an upgrade/buy button or banner somewhere prominent?
  • Should we generally show all premium features/content but lock them and mark them as premium?
  • Something in between?

Are there any general recommendations/guidelines/best-practices for this? Of the apps I use, some seem to do it this way, other do it that way.

Thanks for your help!

  • If you open a bakery, will you show the bread you sell or will you keep it in the oven?
    – Danielillo
    Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 14:17
  • Absolutely true. The only problem I see is that our premium offers way more content and features. If you show them all, I thought a user might get annoyed because 3/4 of the app is locked and only available for premium.
    – casep
    Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 8:27

4 Answers 4


What you should not do is have normal looking buttons that go to a screen that then announces it is a premium feature and so can't do what was requested.

That is extremely frustrating and annoying, and will lose users that might have eventually signed up.

If you must include premium features on a screen, make it obvious that they are premium features.

If they are easily recognizable users can learn to live with and ignore them, and maybe eventually decide that they would be worth paying for. They will still be somewhat annoying, but not frustrating.

  • 1
    Yes -- similarly, don't let them add features or options and build content, and then show the price tag only after all their creative work is done. Truly a dark pattern. Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 12:51

Check https://www.freepik.com/

You can see all premium features and you have the option to view only the free ones.

If you can not develop a filter to switch between these two views, show all options and let the user know there is more content when they sign up


If –3/4 of the app is locked and only available for premium–, this is a good marketing strategy to motivate the user to purchase premium services.

If the difference between the application's basic services and premium services is unreasonably wide, you may need to offer a middle option: basic, standard and premium.

I would recommend visiting services with multi-plans. Among them, one of the most complex is the one offered by Mailchimp, with different types of services distributed in tabs and subclassifications in each of them.

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I absolutely agree with the answers here, and to put in a little more context, Medium handle it very well, imo, by letting the user know which content is premium blocked, and which one is free Medium posts, the premium says "Member-only", while the free doesn't have this mark

Hotjar, however, doesn't tell you which feature is premium blocked enter image description here

But on specific sections, like filtering records, it presents the premium blocked ones as visually blocked enter image description here

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