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Fri, 9 Feb 2007 13:10:49 -0500
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Hello all,
We are remodeling our web application, and our users often need to make
a choice within a list.  Sometimes the number of items in the drop-down
list is low (3-10) but sometimes the number of items can very hight
(more than 1000 items).
We currently have a discussion on how to treat very long lists (more
than 1000 items).  We currently have a drop-down list and show the first
100 items with a "More items..." at the end.  That brings a pop-up with
a Search tool.
We are trying to find a simpler and faster way for the user to choose an
item in a very big list.  Is it a seach tool, an autofill box, filters,
something else ?
We think of presenting the user with a standard drop-down list if we
have a small number of items.  If the list is very big, we think of
using an autofill box with search capacities.  The user would enter the
first letters of the word in the text box and we would show the items
found in the table with that string of letters (similar to autofill in
Outlook).  We would also offer the possibility to access the whole table
with a "View all" button that would bring the complete list.  The user
then needs to scroll down the list to see all the items.
So :
Do any of you know if there is a guideline for the maximum number of
items in a drop-down list?  We want to know when to use a drop-down list
and when we should find another way of accessing the list.
Do you know the preferred way for the user to select an item in a very
long list? 
Did you ever have to do a similar design decision and what were the
Your comments and suggestions are more than welcome!  I will collect and
post a summary of the answers.  
Thanks in advance.
Anne Deputter

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