Components

Radio buttons

Radio buttons allow users to select exactly one choice from a group.

About the radio buttons component

Radio buttons are a common way to allow users to make a single selection from a list of options. Since only one radio button can be selected at a time (within the same group), each available choice must be its own item and label. In contrast, checkboxes may show a single label, with the checked/unchecked status of the item meaning opposite things. For example, a checkbox could have a single input/label and legend that says “I have read the terms and conditions.” Radio buttons would need two inputs/labels for the same legend, “No” and “Yes”.

Once a user selects one of the radio buttons in a group, the group can’t be easily reset to displaying no radio buttons selected. One possible solution would be to add a “none of the above” option to a radio button group, which would allow users to effectively unselect the other radio buttons in that group.

Default

Select one historical figure

Tile

Select one historical figure
<h3 class="site-preview-heading">Default</h3>
<form class="usa-form">
  <fieldset class="usa-fieldset">
    <legend class="usa-legend usa-legend">Select one historical figure</legend>
    <div class="usa-radio">
      <input
        class="usa-radio__input"
        id="historical-truth"
        type="radio"
        name="historical-figures"
        value="sojourner-truth"
        checked
      />
      <label class="usa-radio__label" for="historical-truth"
        >Sojourner Truth</label
      >
    </div>
    <div class="usa-radio">
      <input
        class="usa-radio__input"
        id="historical-douglass"
        type="radio"
        name="historical-figures"
        value="frederick-douglass"
      />
      <label class="usa-radio__label" for="historical-douglass"
        >Frederick Douglass</label
      >
    </div>
    <div class="usa-radio">
      <input
        class="usa-radio__input"
        id="historical-washington"
        type="radio"
        name="historical-figures"
        value="booker-t-washington"
      />
      <label class="usa-radio__label" for="historical-washington"
        >Booker T. Washington</label
      >
    </div>
    <div class="usa-radio">
      <input
        class="usa-radio__input"
        id="historical-carver"
        type="radio"
        name="historical-figures"
        value="george-washington-carver"
        disabled
      />
      <label class="usa-radio__label" for="historical-carver"
        >George Washington Carver</label
      >
    </div>
  </fieldset>
</form>

<h3 class="site-preview-heading">Tile</h3>
<fieldset class="usa-fieldset">
  <legend class="usa-legend">Select one historical figure</legend>
  <div class="usa-radio">
    <input
      class="usa-radio__input usa-radio__input--tile"
      id="historical-truth-2"
      type="radio"
      name="historical-figures-2"
      value="sojourner-truth"
      checked
    />
    <label class="usa-radio__label" for="historical-truth-2"
      >Sojourner Truth</label
    >
  </div>
  <div class="usa-radio">
    <input
      class="usa-radio__input usa-radio__input--tile"
      id="historical-douglass-2"
      type="radio"
      name="historical-figures-2"
      value="frederick-douglass"
    />
    <label class="usa-radio__label" for="historical-douglass-2"
      >Frederick Douglass
      <span class="usa-checkbox__label-description"
        >This is optional text that can be used to describe the label in more
        detail.</span
      ></label
    >
  </div>
  <div class="usa-radio">
    <input
      class="usa-radio__input usa-radio__input--tile"
      id="historical-washington-2"
      type="radio"
      name="historical-figures-2"
      value="booker-t-washington"
    />
    <label class="usa-radio__label" for="historical-washington-2"
      >Booker T. Washington</label
    >
  </div>
  <div class="usa-radio">
    <input
      class="usa-radio__input usa-radio__input--tile"
      id="historical-marshall-2"
      type="radio"
      name="historical-figures"
      value="thurgood-marshall"
      disabled
    />
    <label class="usa-radio__label" for="historical-marshall-2"
      >Thurgood Marshall</label
    >
  </div>
</fieldset>

Guidance

When to use the radio buttons component

  • To display a single selection. When users need to select only one option from a set of mutually exclusive choices.

When to consider something else

  • Multiple selections. If users need to select more than one option or if there’s only one item to select, use checkboxes instead.
  • Limited space. Consider a dropdown if you don’t have enough space to list out all available options.
  • Selecting none. If users should be able to select zero of the options or change their mind and unselect an option, consider using checkboxes. You can also choose to add a “none of the above” option to the radio button group instead.

Usability guidance

  • Use the label as a target. Users should be able to select either the text label or the radio button to select or deselect an option.
  • List items vertically. Vertically-listed options are easier to read than those that are listed horizontally. A horizontal layout can make it difficult to tell which label belongs to which radio button.
  • Use adequate spacing. Make sure selections are adequately spaced for touch screens. Consider using the tile variant for larger touch targets.
  • Set default values with caution. Setting a default value can bias a decision, seem pushy, or alienate users who don’t fit your assumptions. Only use a default selection if you have data to back it up.
  • Don’t mix default and tile variants. Pick one implementation and stick with it. When mixed, tiles can appear to indicate a bias or preference toward that option.
  • Use a logical order. Make sure the selection options are organized in a meaningful way, like alphabetical or most-frequent to least-frequent. This helps users easily find the option they’re looking for.

Accessibility

  • Customize form controls accessibly. If you customize this component, ensure that it continues to meet the accessibility requirements that apply to all form controls.
  • Use fieldset and legend. Group related radio buttons together with <fieldset> and describe the group with <legend>.
  • Use proper labels and attributes. Each radio button should have a <label>. Associate the two by matching the <label>’s for attribute to the <input>’s id attribute.

Using the radio buttons component

Radio buttons settings

Variable Description
$theme-input-tile-background-color-selected

Tile background color when selected.

$theme-input-tile-border-radius

Tile border radius for rounded corners.

$theme-input-tile-border-width

Tile border thickness.

$theme-input-tile-border-color

Tile border color.

$theme-input-tile-border-color-selected

Tile border color when selected.

Radio buttons variants

Variant Description

.usa-radio__input--tile

Input tiles provide a larger interaction area and neatly group the label with the form control for readability. They’re useful in application forms and questionnaires, but may not be recommended when they create clutter on the page.

Package

  • Package usage: @import usa-form-controls
  • Requires: required, global