I'm going to implement a non-essential feature on a website. This feature will not be available for all browsers and, therefore, all users.

Should I just hide the button that activates it? Or should I inform users that this feature exists, but unavailable? Is there any benefit from latter?

1 Answer 1


If you selectively hide options from customers, you are going to create a lot of confusion. If a customer sees a feature while using one browser, but then doesn't see it when they are on another, it will not be evident why. The result will be a confused and frustrated customers.

If it is not available, rather explain why not and then let the customer decide whether they want to switch browsers or not.

The same logic applies to hiding disabled menu options. Don't do something that your customers don't understand or can't anticipate.

  • About different browsers: do you think about, for example, Firefox on a desktop and Safari on iPad? I don't think that switching browser on one device is a real case scenario.
    – Pavlo
    Dec 21, 2012 at 19:06
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    @PavloMykhalov there are many likely scenarios. I use at least 3 on a daily basis depending on the device and OS. The point is that it is likely that you will have customers like this, or even ones that hear of a feature that they can't find.
    – JohnGB
    Dec 21, 2012 at 19:09
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    I agree with John. IMO, his answer pertains not just to web apps, but also to computer apps, e.g. if an app cannot perform a feature because the video card is not enough or the computer does not have an I/O card, the app should gray out the feature with an explanation instead of hiding it.
    – Hisham
    Dec 22, 2012 at 5:51

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