Which radio option is better for a web application in real estate?

Choice A)

List property publicly? 
( ) Yes.  Make the property viewable from my home page. 
( ) No.  Hide the property from my home page.

Choice B)

( ) List property publicly.  Make the property viewable from my home page. 
( ) Do not list property publicly.  Hide the property from my home page.

I've looked around and haven't found this exact question asked, though have seen other questions related to horizontal/vertical alignment and some about third option choices.

I'd also welcome any other tips as far as how to structure this required question.

  • the choice B also includes the question? Jun 12, 2015 at 14:35
  • No, just as it is stated. Jun 12, 2015 at 14:42
  • If it matters, I don't expect to have more than 5 questions of this type on the form (more likely 3). Jun 12, 2015 at 14:43
  • 1
    What do you do when there's more than one visibility type? Public turns into friends only, or contractors only, or realtors only. This is a nightmare waiting to happen! Prepare for it now!
    – corsiKa
    Jun 12, 2015 at 19:32
  • 1
    For this application and this particular feature, that's not a likely possibility right now. If we needed to expand in the future, I would imagine a block of multiple-select checkboxes with opinionated defaults. Jun 12, 2015 at 19:39

5 Answers 5



Settings are different from questions.

This may seem obvious, but it drives a difference in UX design. Yes and No may be reasonable answers to a question:

Are you a muggle? Yes / No

However, in your case you are really asking the user to make a setting.
For settings, don't make the user think too much:

  • Describe what the radio button does instead of leading with yes/no. A yes/no is cognitively more complicated because the user has to relate yes/no back to the question, so she may have to scan back up to re-establish context with the question (users pay less attention than you think).
  • Avoid long unbroken lines of text. You are asking users to read too much text to make a simple setting. It's better to provide a short (1 to 3 words) summary of what the selection does.

A more modern approach to this radio button setting:

enter image description here

  • 13
    For years, the standard example of a "set in stone, two value question" was male/female. Nowadays you can't even use a radio box for that - you need a multiselect.
    – corsiKa
    Jun 12, 2015 at 19:30
  • 3
    +1. I like this answer overall and the concept first posed by @rewobs. What I was trying to avoid, however, is use of the word "private" since that could be misleading. Perhaps "Unlisted" would be a better choice and this structure can lend itself to eventually offering "Private" as a third option. I'm going to keep this question open to stew a bit longer. Jun 12, 2015 at 20:26
  • 11
    @corsiKa I work at a medical company and just recently had to add a 3rd radio box for "I'd rather not say" on the Gender question of our sign up form. You would think that would be a pretty standard question to answer honestly to your doctor right?...
    – bfritz
    Jun 12, 2015 at 21:49
  • 2
    The "modern" approach is 100 times better. People are used to public/private words these days thanks to facebook, github, etc.
    – AKS
    Jun 13, 2015 at 16:28
  • 2
    @bfritz, what about intersex people? They can't answer neither “male” nor “female”, even in an strictly medical context. Jun 13, 2015 at 22:48

As you mentioned if the option B doesn't include the question I would go with A) because the question is simply enough to admit a Yes/No answer, plus the explanation next to the option is the expected and not something that really needs to be cleared before the user accept, the question already states the final consequence.

Also, you could use an alternative approach, that for me is clearer: (FYI English is not my native language, so use the words that suit better)

Visibility of list property :   
( ) Public.  Make the property viewable from my home page.   
( ) Hidden.  Hide the property from my home page.

You could convert the radio select into a check box and provide a tool tip with additional information about the option (i.e. public = visible on homepage)

  • 1
    Not a bad idea per se, but a checkbox implies a default value. Jun 12, 2015 at 14:26
  • How does a checkbox imply a default value?
    – corsiKa
    Jun 12, 2015 at 19:31
  • If a page is loaded with a checkbox named "public" and is checked, it implies that it is public by default. If it is loaded as unchecked, it is implied as private by default. Does that make sense? You can make the user choose consciously with a radio button before proceeding as it can be unselected. Jun 12, 2015 at 19:56
  • Or technically, if it is unchecked it is not public by default Jun 12, 2015 at 20:16
  • 1
    @bphilipnyc And most users prefer defaults! People are inherently lazy, and each incremental step in a process reduces the probability that it will be completed, filling out optional questions on a form is defiantly one of the places this is shown the most.
    – bfritz
    Jun 12, 2015 at 21:43

The questions being asked are yes/no questions. The appropriate UI control to use in a yes/no aka Boolean configuration setting or question would be a checkbox.

[x] List this property publicly.

[x] Show this property on my home page.

Both (a) and (b) choices are potentially confusing to a user and should not be framed using a 'radio' UI control at all.

If it's not clear that all property listings are private by default, then communicate that somewhere as well (but not as part of a UI control label).

  • I fully support this answer! The whole Yes/No questions on forms is very dated and lots of people have moved past this and with better framing and results using checkboxes for every sort of implementation from configuration settings to Opt-In/Opt-Out notifications etc. Just check some of the configuration screens for Google/Amazon/Microsoft/Paypal etc. I recently just had to convey this exact issue with my company and did a bunch of research and decided to go with checkboxes as well.
    – bfritz
    Jun 12, 2015 at 22:07
  • On mobile the on/off toggle switch is also an appropriate UI element. Jun 12, 2015 at 22:55

Based on the example question provided here are a couple considerations that may help you make a decision.


Example A removes the bulk of the question from the answer choices and puts it above them, this makes question have less width but more height. So if you intend to make this application scale to mobile devices this would be preferable as it will fit the smaller screens better and you will have less wrapping issues.


Another reason I find Example A preferable is the repetition of what youre choosing between seems redundant (i.e. in this example "List property publicly", "do not list property publicly", since these choices are always directly opposing you will always be essentially reading the question twice as opposed to once and then choosing.

Separation of content

With the question above the answer choices it acts as a sort of header to show where the question begins and the last question ended. With no question above it could appear as you just have a wall of answers with no separation. (NOTE: this assumes you're not separating the questions another way such as borders or blocks)

So in my opinion Example A is the better choice. But in the end all that really matters is consistency, pick one and stick with it.

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