Is it a good idea to use radios on mobile apps? If not, how would you improve the below design?

enter image description here

4 Answers 4


In this case I think it's ok to use radio buttons but be sure they are easy to tap.

If you have only 2 or 3 available choices the solution below could be nice. I also removed the "check" button since it adds a step that can be avoided to make the process simpler (you can show the user that you're checking while he's typing and show that the given name is valid/invalid).

radio buttons alternative

You can add a message :

radio button invalid

And to show that you're already checking (even if you're waiting they finished to type) you could use an animated icon (a loader in fact) :

radio button searching


Radios if list is small, drop down list if it is larger but also allowing to type in letters so it can be suggested from list.

Important, use large radios. But not too large. So people with bigger fingers can easly use it.

  • Why are radio buttons OK if the list is small? Why is a dropdown better if the list is larger?
    – JonW
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 3:56
  • I would second the comment about remembering people with bigger / less precise fingers. The first thing I thought from your mock-up is that the buttons are too close together. Another option would be to arrange the buttons in two columns, with multi-line labels and more space in between. And yes, if you have a lot of options and only one selection is possible (as per radio buttons), I would use a drop-down rather than take up a lot of screen with the options.
    – AmeliaBR
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 5:15

Look how this case solved in iOS7 dialog for changing ringtone

changing ringtone

  • Lara, could you expand on your answer - first by describing what is in the image (the link to which might get broken), and what the ramifications of that design are.
    – Erics
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 9:26

Radio's seem to be a good choice if switching is "common" and the list is not long, like in the case where a user might use the app and choose a different each time. Why? Because first of all a selectbox takes two touches rather than one, but on the other hand a radio like list takes far more space. I would also like to note that it would be good practice to not use actual radio buttons, but use bigger sized list items with a radio like element in front of them to signify selection (though do note that a checkmark icon seems to suggest multiple options being selectable).

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