We are currently re-working our profile pages in our software and would like to explore the alternatives of having a large amount of tick boxes for users to select to attain certain privileges.

The page currently can hold up to 12 box options, which seems excessive. I have scoured the internet for possible alternatives, Any insight or guidance appreciated.

here is a screen grab of our current checkbox list:

enter image description here

  • Is there any good way to break them into categories?
    – Perchik
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 19:43
  • They are all really quite different privileges, otherwise segmentation would be a good option for this.
    – IronBasset
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 20:10
  • 1
    Worth noting that they are already segmented by default (in columns). Segmentation by group function (or some other clustering) looks possible.
    – uxzapper
    Commented May 23, 2014 at 7:40

2 Answers 2


Depending on the usage, a series of about 10 checkboxes is fine. I wouldn't call 12 excessive. I would call about 25+ excessive.

On possible option if you have ~100+ options is to have a text field where the user starts typing the name of the option they want to add. Stack Exchange uses this exact feature for the tags field when asking a question. Each valid item gets converted into a tag, and as you type you receive auto-complete suggestions based on what you've typed so far. But this sort of input doesn't make sense when all of the options can easily fit in a small space, such as the 12 items you're mentioning.

As Perchik commented, see if you can group them together. Beyond that, you don't really have a problem.


An alternative is to have two lists side-by-side where the user can move items from the "unused" list to the "used" list. This could work well if you have something like 100+ items to choose from but the user is usually only interested in seeing what they already have selected.

Not the best looking example, but something like this:

two lists

  • I feel that this pattern is the opposite of direct manipulation. I would prefer the checkboxes over it...
    – Leths
    Commented May 23, 2014 at 11:00
  • I've seen this implemented well, and implemented poorly. One must-have is being able to double-click an entry to move it to the other list.
    – Marsh
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 22:17

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.