Radio Buttons—8 Pros and Cons


As we know, radio buttons are used for single-choice questions. But since we can use drop‑down lists instead, you might ask what the pros and cons of radio buttons are.

The first advantage is quick access to options. Unlike with drop‑down lists, you can see all available options at a glance. You can quickly scan them and answer with a single click. This is especially important on landing pages, where you want high conversion rates, and in surveys, which contain a lot of questions.

Radio buttons do not work so well when the number of options exceeds 5. You cannot lay them out horizontally, and a vertical layout makes the form longer, which could discourage your respondents.

Because you can see all the available options at a glance, they are self-descriptive and a label may not be necessary. For example:

requires no further explanation or a label like ‘Is the delivery address the same as the billing address?’

It might be obvious, but it’s important to remember that radio buttons are useless when we want to enable users to select more than one option. A checkbox list should be used instead.

Each radio button option can be assigned an individual context help link or icon (you cannot do that with drop-down lists.)

You cannot deselect a radio button. If a user clicks an option once, he or she can’t skip the question anymore. Consequently, radio buttons are not a good choice for collecting optional data.

On the other hand, that could be exactly what you want. By embedding a radio button with a preselected option you can be sure the user will provide an answer, and you do not need to enable the mandatory field validation.

Last but not least, with just one click you can set an ‘Other’ option for a radio button (called ‘Alternate choice’ in FormBuilder). You can do that for drop-down lists as well, but you need to add separate fields and configure hiding actions.

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