I'm working on a project about forms in which we have a question about selectors. We have seen that there is a boom of selectors that do not show whether it is a checkbox or a radio button.

From my point of view, this is confusing because the user doesn't know if he can select only one option or more than one. My proposal has been to show the checkbox or radio button icon. Also, for accessibility, we should say what kind of selector it is.

My colleague thinks that if there is a boom in many famous pages with selectors that do not provide the visual information of being a radio button or checkbox, she thinks it is because users understand how to use it and it is a newer way of designing selectors.

So my question is, what is your point of view, and do you agree with option A or B?


  • Option A:

** Option showing the radiobuttonsOption showing the checkboxes


  • Option B:

** Option without showing the type of selector Option without showing the type of selector + image

  • 1
    A and B seem like they're designed for different contexts. What exactly is the distinction between the two you like people to express preference for? Are you asking, button or no button? Dec 12, 2022 at 10:41
  • They are designed for the same context, forms. The difference is that in one component there is no visual of the type of selector (e.g. radio buttons or checkboxes) and in the other one there is. So I'm asking if people is in favor of with or without.
    – Beatriz GP
    Dec 12, 2022 at 11:16
  • 1
    I'm assuming that the "option B" designs are behaving as Radio Buttons from their associated text - I think this works with small groups of two or three options but, for more than that, I think I'd re think the whole layout. Of course, I have no research to back this up so take it with as much salt as you'd like - or maybe run your own research! Dec 12, 2022 at 12:15

1 Answer 1


Dime-store answer: if buttons aren't needed, don't use them.   That being said...

Q: ...different contexts. What exactly is the distinction between [A and B]?

A: They are designed for the same context, forms.

"Forms" is too broad a context to determine even a subjective preference between options A and B—a qualitative measure—let alone applying the comparison in quantitative user testing, i.e., measuring various user cognitive and performance metrics accomplishing a list of tasks.

To gain a usable response, start with the "option B" scenario—partly to reduce the measurable differences between A and B from many to one, but also because Option A is confusing, e.g., are the radio options exclusive, are the checkbox options inclusive?

The form context presented here is (apparently) the part of a larger form where clients scheduling a consultation indicate how and where they like to meet.

The client has the option to meet online, or at a company office. If an office consultation is selected the client then selects the office location. Both the online/office selection and the two location selections are exclusive.

Option A

Incorporating radio button controls and border highlighting to indicate selection:

with buttons


Option B

Relying solely on border highlighting to indicate selection:

without buttons

To measure the clarity of instructions show unselected presentations:

unselected buttons

unselected without buttons


  • The primary question—"Where would you like to meet?",

  • And the physical limitation of not being able to be in two locations at the same time,

...strongly suggests the choice for both questions are exclusive—i.e., you can only select one making Option B effective and slightly "cleaner", and radio buttons not necessary to communicate exclusivity.

However, consistency of form-wide use of controls is a significantly greater priority over "effective and clean" in any portion. Therefore, an analysis of the entire form is necessary to ultimately decide if inclusion of radio/checkbox controls is needed to improve the form's UX.

Clarify the "Option A" presentation in the question, and the rest of a representative form in your project, with a specific scenario then present options with and without buttons ready for qualitative and quantitative analysis.

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