Suppose a web application showing a form where user is expected to specify the friends he wants to share with (conceptual example):

enter image description here

User can select either:

  • No friends at all (no sharing)
  • within 0km-5km
  • within 5km-10km
  • Every friend, no matter the distance is

Of course, if user only selects "within 5km-10km", friends within 0km-5km will not be concerned: it's not inclusive except for the "All" that includes the whole.

However, I expect user to not combine checkbox items that are not relevant. Example:

  • "No friends yet" with another item, like for instance "within 0km-5km" => make no sense.
  • "within 0km-5km" + "All" => means "All", so make no sense to select both.
  • etc.

In this case, the only possible combination of multiple selection would be the second and third items (the distances).

How to better represent this selection component in order to always let the user combine "compatible" items?

  • 3
    The phrase "distant from 5km" doesn't make sense to me. I would change it to "within 5km". Same with the 10km one. Aug 6, 2014 at 15:54
  • 2
    Yes, I've just "invented" it for the sample. I updated it
    – Mik378
    Aug 6, 2014 at 15:55
  • Why in the world do I want a selection for 5-10 that excludes 0-5? None, Within 5, Within 10, All
    – paparazzo
    Aug 15, 2014 at 22:43
  • @Blam It's just a "conceptual" example, not to be interpreted in a real case.
    – Mik378
    Aug 16, 2014 at 20:05

3 Answers 3


The first comment i would make is you could review your selection titles. It seems from your question that 'within 10km exactly' is not inclusive of 5km, this does not make sense. Re-wording to 'Within 5km-10km exactly' would add clarity. - You could look to apply more logical/specific titles to all selections.

Another way to better represent what you mean is for a selection to auto-select another field, but offer the user to manually override. For example selecting 'All' could auto select all other check-boxes, deselecting any of these would also remove the 'All' selection but retain the others. This will make it clear to the user exactly what is being selected.

I would recommend researching filter options from eCommerce sites as similar UI will have been implemented somewhere.

  • 'Within' wasn't the good word. I know the example might not be sensed, but it's a conceptual example. I replace 'within', by 'exactly', to avoid inclusion.
    – Mik378
    Aug 6, 2014 at 16:11
  • Do you just want people who are exactly 10km away? You would likely trigger very few results. A range seems more usable. Do you go shopping for shoes and say i want to spend $100, and ignore all the $99 pairs?
    – OpenTage
    Aug 6, 2014 at 16:14
  • Actually, no matter what the real case is, I just tried to invent a case where there is a selection that not includes the other. I think I would rename: within 0km-5km and within 5km-10km as you suggested :)
    – Mik378
    Aug 6, 2014 at 16:16
  • I've just updated ;)
    – Mik378
    Aug 6, 2014 at 16:19
  • 1
    ok, you could introduce some validation to the selections, preventing the selection of mutually exclusive fields. Either by making an unselected field uneditable while another is selected, or (more preferable) have selection of one de-select another. Realistically however this does not stop the user wanting to make mutually exclusive selections, it just punishes them for it. - I would suggest using this as a last resort, and focussing on perfecting the selection choices
    – OpenTage
    Aug 6, 2014 at 16:24

The larger distance radius can't exclude the smaller radius, in my mind. So just a simple toggle button with a slider can simplify this:

enter image description here

  • But what if the distances were exclusive: 10km but no 5km? I renamed the words in my post.
    – Mik378
    Aug 6, 2014 at 16:06
  • I've just updated the question to avoid confusion. Therefore your solution does not seem relevant using a slider.
    – Mik378
    Aug 6, 2014 at 16:19
  • 2
    In reply to your edited question, you can edit the labels of the two distance selectors: '0 - 5km' and '5 - 10km'. In this case, you'll need a radio button instead of a slider.
    – Adnan Khan
    Aug 6, 2014 at 16:24

A set of checkboxes is by nature multi-select. However, No Friends and the other options are mutually exclusive options. I would simply eliminate the No Friends option. If they don't want to share with any friends, they simply leave all checkboxes unselected.

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