I work as a graphic/UX designer for a company that produces an highly complex web SAS. Lately, I've been confronted to a complex issue related to one of our app's functionalists.
Our apps generates a list of entries where for each entry, functionality can be activated most of the time. For permission reasons, some of these entries can't have that functionality activated.
I've been arguing with the developers because they are planning to leave the button that activates the functionality even for the entries that doesn't allow it because it would be highly complicated to isolate the entries concerned by this exception. In a nutshell, that would mean that for some of the entries, the users would be able to see and click on the button, but it wouldn't result in any feedback/action at all.
Are there any articles that clearly state that leaving a dull/dead/inactive UI element misleads the users by giving them the false impression and that their action will lead to a result is a major usability failure? I found articles about greyed UI elements and errors of several kinds, but I haven't been able to find something that precisely stipulates that.