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Richard Chimera <[log in to unmask]>
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Richard Chimera <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 10 Feb 2000 12:06:38 -0700
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Now that I've shrugged off my lurking ....

Joe Clark ([log in to unmask]) writes:

> 4. They're too "neato" in programmer terms. In other words,
> programmers think they're highly efficient and kewel. If anything
> were the antithesis of usability, that is.

Calling dropdown list boxes "the antithesis of usability" is a bit
overdramatic in my opinion.  There can be valid reasons to use them, usually
when screen real estate is at a premium and your intended audience has some
computer experience.  And there are good reasons not to use them, if users
are complete novices, the dropdowns are populated with too many items, etc.

A text box isn't always usable.  What if the user had to choose between two
values of chemical compound names and a text box was provided where the user
had to recall and type in the whole name, instead of choosing between two
radio buttons which state the values and the user only needs to recognize
the appropriate value and click the mouse.  (Admittedly an extreme example.)

To borrow from the handgun debate: dropdowns don't kill usability, web
designers and developers kill usability.

+Rick Chimera

Richard Chimera, Design Council
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JDA Software, #1 in Software for Retail Businesses