Friday, July 09, 2004

A Better Multi-Select Widget

This is very cool:

Uzilla, LLC presents a more usable way of allowing users to select multiple responses from a set of 5-40 options on the web.

In a recent usability test with non-information workers in an intranet application, we discovered that none of the users successfully selected multiple responses when presented in a HTML select element with multiple selection enabled. They simply did not know that control click existed.
This is definitely true in my experience as well - non-expert users never know to ctrl+click on select elements, and even when there's a clear message they don't do it.

The method they present uses a series of checkboxes that hide and display a summary of what was chosen. Checkboxes are definitely a better way to do multiple selects - maybe because people are more used to this paradigm in filling out pen-and-paper forms?

I'm not sure how well this method would scale to, say, 50 or 100 elements; maybe you could sort them alphabetically and break them up into groups? that would make the form processing scripts harder to write tho. But, that's a small price to pay for a more usable multiple-select mechanism, I reckon.

Check it out here.

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