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Hello, guys! My colleagues and I had a very heated discussion over those options of how a user can tune settings in our web-application.

A little bit of context: we build a system for professionals who use our application on regular basis but this particular setting is only tuned once in 95% of use-cases.

Here is the link to try the options by yourself: https://vfjt4m.csb.app/

Our collective pros and cons:

Left option (mutually exclusive checkboxes aka cheraboxes):

Pros:

  • Close to text
  • Looks minimalistic
  • Looks like other checkboxes
  • Looks vivid, easier to scan

Cons:

  • WTF? Is this even a checkbox? Why does it behave like a radio?

Right option (aka pills)

Pros:

  • Familiar to user, seen on many sites
  • Predictable behaviour
  • You always see what you click
  • Just works

Cons:

  • Might look piled up

Please give any feedback on using those two. It is very welcome.

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  • Please be more specific. When would you consider the chosen option to be “better” and why? Answers will likely contain mostly opinions when the question asks for them. It’s also recommended to add images to show the problem instead of a link to ask for a review.
    – jazZRo
    Aug 10, 2023 at 19:12
  • @jazZRo I and my colleagues have different definition of "better". For me it's when the solution is widely adopted pattern so you don't invent a wheel and when you can easily reuse it in different places with the same behaviour. Also it's crucial for me to not break the logic which is familiar to everyone. When a checkbox works like a checkbox, not like a radio. For them it's totally fine to reinvent the wheel, to break familiar logic and to make user to learn how to use it. Just to make it look simpler. Also i think screenshots won't be sufficient because you need to click to understand.
    – qn0361
    Aug 11, 2023 at 8:31
  • What does (user) research and any test results tell you? Because that’s how to find out what’s best. Now this sounds more like a matter of personal opinions. Asking outsiders which opinion is better is not what this site is intended for.
    – jazZRo
    Aug 11, 2023 at 10:57
  • Please refer to the help center to read about how to improve the question.
    – jazZRo
    Aug 11, 2023 at 11:08
  • sorry maybe i don't see it as clearly as you do. we're only at the beginning of building up design processes. most of the product's life it existed without any design team at all, developed solely by developers. so we can't do any real user research yet. i asked this question to see if someone could provide answer based on their experience or research or give some great arguments we didn't see. in my vision this is a question about options after all, not opinions. i'm sorry if i violated something. and thank you for answer, it helped a lot.
    – qn0361
    Aug 11, 2023 at 11:33

1 Answer 1

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Since this app is for professional users who use it daily, the correct answer might not be that obvious; we need to look at end-to-end task workflow: is it possible that they might misinterpret checkboxes as something else, like batch actions, for example? Ideally, you should aim to match the mental models they are familiar with.

Having said that, I think the option with toggles is safer:

  • Options are listed out
  • It's clear only one can be selected
  • You can drop the SAVE button with toggles
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  • thanks for the answer! the thing with the save button is that we cant actually drop it. we need the user to confirm their action because one little option potentially can do significant damage to work of thousand of people. these settings should be tuned really carefully. and toggles look like they don't need to be saved when actually they do. do you see any problems with using toggles?
    – qn0361
    Aug 11, 2023 at 11:07
  • understandable – no harm in keeping SAVE (updating on the fly may be costly or result in a laggy experience for the user). So short answer: SAVE is totally fine and is expected in enterprise software. To answer your question, I would need to know: how the user navigates to this place in UI (is it modal / isolated view?), and are there any further actions required, or is it a last step in their task? (SAVE or DONE are sometimes added to make the action explicit). Hope this helps! Aug 11, 2023 at 11:30

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