In some cases, as No is the default option for a radio button, should it be placed first instead of Yes?

In my opinion, default option should be prioritized to place on left. What's your opinion?

  • 40
    Randomly alternate Yes/No and No/Yes, just to keep your users attentive !
    – Florian F.
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 14:44
  • 8
    It is upvoted for humor purpose, not because it is true
    – Leths
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 13:34
  • Your comment is upvoted because it is true.
    – Esser
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 12:42

4 Answers 4


I would like to advise you not to use Yes/No as radio buttons.

It is advised to use sentence style labels in imperative style.

enter image description here

Now, to answer the question in which order the options should appear, here is what MS UX style guide recommends:

List the options in a logical order, such as most likely to be selected to least, simplest operation to most complex, or least risk to most.

  • 4
    You should probably still answer the question of which order they should be in. You do that implicitly with the pictures, but never state it directly.
    – Cruncher
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 12:57
  • 4
    Ah, this is nice, I don't have to read the question, I can just tell from the options what it is about. I learned something today. +1
    – Mallow
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 16:29
  • 11
    @DavidRicherby: That's excatly the point. If the buttons (or radio buttons in this case) only read Yes and No, you are obligated to read the question above. If the radiobuttons are labeled with an imperative, you only need to read the imperatives ("Include" and "Do not") and you're basically done! I am not advocating to use long sentences or put your life story as the radio button's label. You need to reduce to the minimum, but not further than that! Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 9:28
  • 4
    @DavidRicherby It's not about the word count or repetition, it's about the number of items that you must process. "Do X? Yes / No" always requires 2: X then the answer, and the X must remain in a human's working memory while deciding on a choice (granted 2 items is small, average human is 5-9). On the other hand: "<Irrelevant>: Do X / Do Y" requires attention to only 1 (the resulting action only), with no use of working memory. Even if the latter has more words, it has the minimal number of "attention items".
    – Jason C
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 13:46
  • 3
    @DavidRicherby But where I think your concern is coming from, which is valid, is the risk of this getting into that irritating (at least to me) Microsoft-esque overly-task-oriented realm, where clarity of what's actually going on is lost (e.g. "Change the way I am presented with a document => What do you want to do? I want to refer to pictures as I read / I want to read without distraction." - this is no good.)
    – Jason C
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 13:50

Why won't you rather use a checkbox that says "include pictures"?

A YES/NO is 1/0, therefore a case for a checkbox.

  • 1
    +1, good point. If there are only 2 mutually exclusive options, you can just as well go with a checkbox. Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 12:47
  • 16
    I don't think a checkbox is equivalent to the described radio buttons. I have always felt that a checkbox is "less explicit" about the choice being made. Not checking/unchecking a checkbox kind of conveys that an optional choice is simply skipped, whereas a yes/no pair of radio buttons explicitly says that, no matter whether yes or no is chosen, a choice is made with all of its consequences. It is comparable to textboxes left empty vs. text boxes where users explicitly (have to) enter no, thanks, N/A. The input is the same, but what they convey to users feels different in a subtle way. Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 12:52
  • 5
    @O.R.Mapper Checkbox is for choices about yes or not, where the default can (but doesn't necessarily mean) that you've skipped the choice. A radio button implies that you need to select one of the following choices, or none at all. I think a checkbox looks better in this case. Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 15:05
  • 2
    @MadaraUchiha: Not quite; radio buttons generally do not allow selecting none at all (at least most implementations I am aware of do not allow a deselection). That is exactly why I think when the choices are Yes and No, and it should be explicit that you need to select one of the choices, two radio buttons can be better suited than a single checkbox. Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 15:50
  • 1
    To express it from a user perspective, with two concrete examples: Imagine the option Color nodes in graph view in some settings dialog box - that's perfectly fine as a checkbox. It is clear what it does, it is a simple setting that can be changed if one doesn't like it, and nothing is broken when it is skipped. Now, imagine the option Install super-ad-spy-backdoor-toolbar in an installer - I definitely feel better when there is a radio button to select No than if all I can do is leave a checkbox unchecked and hope. Like I said, same input, but a subtly different feeling for the user. Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 15:55

It's your call whether it should be Yes/No or No/Yes. But it should be consistent across the entire app. This poses a concern for your reasoning because in some places Yes might be the default option and No might be default somewhere. Even though they are both within the same page / app.

A good workaround would be to use verbs. Save / Don't save is better than Yes / No. This way it's easier to position primary / secondary actions consistently across the app. Additionally, it also helps to separate primary / secondary action using different colors.

In general, the default option should be easier to find - if your website is ltr, then this would intuitively be on the right side.

Don't save on left, save on right

I hope this helps answer your question


I think a good alternative here was to use a toggle switch (like Android) instead of radio buttons.

  • 7
    That may be true, but it doesn't really answer the question itself. OP wasn't asking for alternatives, or whether the use of radio buttons is appropriate, OP is asking what order the radio buttons should be shown in. Assuming there is a good reason for them having it as radio buttons - what order should they be in?
    – JonW
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 11:56
  • 7
    Interesting how this answer has a negative score of (currently) -2, while the same answer above (ux.stackexchange.com/a/61321/38412 - "use a checkbox") scores +15.
    – CompuChip
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 19:12
  • @CompuChip: Both are poor answers that don't address the question (and I downvoted both accordingly). However at least the other answer gives a little bit of reasoning (albeit briefly).
    – JonW
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 11:43
  • 2
    The fundamental difference is that in the answer with the checkbox, the question becomes irrelevant. In this answer the question simply remains. Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 11:48
  • @CompuChip It's not that interesting. :) That answer appears earlier on the page. By the time you get to this one, you've already got that t-shirt.
    – Jason C
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 14:02

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