I have a web page set up wizard that guides a user through several steps to create an object. One of the steps in the wizard requires the users to pick via check boxes a property to their object. They can bypass this stage if they choose not to select any. We are introducing a new object type that does not support one of the check box options; however it may in the future.

I would like to re-purpose the same set-up wizard so the UI and flow are similar, if not exact. However, I am unsure if I should disable the check box option that is unavailable or if I should hide it all together...

It would seem odd to me that this set up wizard is missing information compared to the previous set up wizard. However, there is no way to select this option anyway because it isn't supported. Would it be more confusing to the user when it's missing? Or more frustrating that it's shown but I cannot choose it? Thoughts?

  • 2
    If you could add a screenshot it would be more clear what you have and want
    – PatomaS
    Feb 28, 2014 at 2:55

2 Answers 2


You should not show controls to the user if they can not interact with them. It will cause problems like frustration, doubts and may be even leaving the process altogether.

If the user finds a control that he can't interact with, first is going to look for an explanation of why. Once he doesn't find that answer, he may feel that missed a step before, and try to go back. If you process doesn't allow going back, he most probably will leave and start again. If your process allows going back, once he goes back and doesn't find the answer, is going to feel doubts and may be annoyed.

If in the future you have more functionality to add, just add it and explain it properly.

  • I agree with PatomaS on this. Just hide the functionality rather than disabling it. The disable works only in cases where on the same page if there are multiple objets and you want to set the expectation of the users that they are all same but with some attributes locked. Feb 28, 2014 at 4:57
  • What PatomaS described is sometimes referred to as "hunting behavior", and it's very frustrating to end users. Here's a related answer ux.stackexchange.com/questions/44852/…
    – Rasha
    Feb 28, 2014 at 10:08
  • agree wit PatomaS. Without knowing why certain features are presented to the user but cannot be use, user will think there's a bug. This could frustrate the user and potentially add extra burden to your support team. Feb 28, 2014 at 16:59

For your new object that does not support that option, you should hide the checkbox and label. Just hide that set with CSS display: none; to remove it from the flow.

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