Designing a radio button interface for selecting how many sub-levels you would want to display for a website main menu dropdown.

The options are:

  • OFF
  • 1 level
  • 2 levels

Considering that the default will be "2 levels" and the options will be vertically listed in one column.

Should the 2 come first as it is the default option, for example:

  • 2
  • 1
  • OFF


the reverse of this as it would display as a dropdown, for example:

  • OFF
  • 1
  • 2

Current display is default option first:

enter image description here

  • Are you forced to do it with radio buttons or is a dropdown also possible?
    – Michael
    Jun 20, 2012 at 15:10
  • Could you please upload an image or wireframe/mockup.
    – JeffH
    Jun 20, 2012 at 15:12
  • @iboothcreate is there a reason they need to be vertically listed?
    – GotDibbs
    Jun 20, 2012 at 15:16
  • @Michael - It is standard across our system to display these options as radio buttons. Jun 20, 2012 at 15:22
  • @JeffH - unfortunately as a new user I can't upload images yet Jun 20, 2012 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


I would begin by having the default selection set to "OFF" and then use the:

  • OFF
  • 1
  • 2

This is pretty standard to have the more "beginner" options at the top and then as the list descends, give the user more "advanced" options.

Something I can foresee being a problem is the user actually knowing what this section does. A description or demo of what each selection does would be helpful.

  • This is for deciding how many levels they would like the dropdown to appear on the front end of their website, not for account navigation. Jun 20, 2012 at 15:44
  • edited it now...
    – PL3X
    Jun 20, 2012 at 16:33
  • Using this way would you then consider having the default as "off"? To add a bit more context here for you. This option will only show when choosing a "Drop-down" template from the list, which is how we are trying to counteract users being unsure what the buttons are for, the text could be changed though as more of a CTA e.g "How many levels would you like to display?". Jun 20, 2012 at 17:20
  • Yes, I would set the default as "Off". As far as the wording is concerned, would it be possible for you to show the user a demo of what "off" or "2 levels" would look like? I really believe that would be the most user friendly way to approach it without having to write a paragraph explaining what it means.
    – PL3X
    Jun 20, 2012 at 18:47
  • not currently unfortunately, working on it though Jun 21, 2012 at 15:45

If I'm understanding your question correctly. The order should be Off > 1 > 2. As the number of level of navigation increase; the discover-ability and the usability of your navigation contents can greatly decrease. Accessibility can also become increasingly harder as the number of option levels and options increase as well.

  • Yeah I am kind of in the same mindset but when you consider 1 & 2 as "ON" options, I wouldn't expect to list the "OFF" option first in a vertical list. Also with the default being "2" would you expect this first? Jun 20, 2012 at 16:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.