How can I pictorially show an option is unavailable for a time?

by Tim   Last Updated July 03, 2015 17:07 PM

I have an option in the settings, that won't be avaliable for the user for about 2 weeks.

I have considered a number of options:

  1. Leave it out - make it suddenly appear

  2. Keep it faded out, and become avaliable after the time

  3. Have a countdown (this can vary based on user actions though).

I could go for one of the options, and none are awful but I wonder if there is a better option.

Answers 1

I have some questions for you:

  • Are there business drivers that you're not mentioning, such as a legal requirement to deliver something that you don't yet have?
  • Is there a reason users need to know about the feature in advance—for example to help them prepare their data or adjust their processes?
  • Will this inactive control reframe their mental model of the software, so users have a better understanding of how to use the pieces that are already working?

Your case is a bit of an unknown to me, so here's some general advice:

  • Think about the experience. How will it feel to users to know that this feature is not available, yet? Will they feel cheated or teased or frustrated? How do you want them to feel?
  • One thing you probably won't want to do: provide an inactive control that sends users on a wild goose chase, as they attempt to discover why the control is inactive. You can make this clear with (temporary) text directly in the UI.
  • Can you deliver part of the experience now, and the rest in two weeks? If the part you can provide can offer meaningful use, then you might consider that.

I hope some of this helps you make a decision.

July 06, 2015 04:42 AM

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