Alternate titles: Options, Preferences.

Problem summary

The user needs a central place to indicate preferences for how the application should behave


Pinterest has grouped its settings into manageable chunks, which lets the user customize the experience to his specifications.


  • Put preferences in the Settings area, when they are used by the majority of users
  • Put prefernces in the Settings area, when they are used by a minority of users, but are essenatial to supporting their needs.
  • Use to provide a place for infrequently accessed preferences.
  • Use to capture user preferences
  • Do not use settings for frequently accessed actions. Move these to a toolbar.

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Let users indicate their preferences for how your product should behave. Provide a central place for users to customize your product to their specifications. Keep configurable options well-organized, predictable, and manageable in number. Group and move less important settings to their own screens.

Provide an overview

Let the user be able to quickly understand all available settings and their current values. If there are many settings to comprehend, prioritize the ones most likely to interest users. Group and move less important settings to seperate screens.

Good Defaults

Consider good initial values for preferences – choose the default most users would choose and be neutral and pose little risk.

When to group

To avoid in-comprehensive lists of preferences, consider clustering settings into multiple shorter lists. Good heuristics are (you might change numbers):

  • 7 or fewer preferences: Don’t group at all.
  • 9 to 16: Group related settings under two or more section dividers.
  • 16 or more: Consider constructing subscreens, but keep a consistent terminology in mind: make sure titles of subscreens match the label of the setting which opens it.

1 Settings Design Pattern at the Google Material Design spec.

More examples of the Settings pattern See all 2 example screenshots

User Interface Design Patterns