Don’t hide or disable menu items

A long time ago, it became fashionable, even recommended, to disable menu items when they could not be used.

Don’t do this. Users see the disabled menu item that they want to click on, and are left entirely without a clue of what they are supposed to do to get the menu item to work.

Instead, leave the menu item enabled. If there’s some reason you can’t complete the action, the menu item can display a message telling the user why.

About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Trello and Fog Creek Software, and CEO of Stack Overflow. More about me.