Dropdown Lists

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Moodle User Interface Guidelines > Dropdown Lists

Note: This page is a work-in-progress. Feedback and suggested improvements are welcome. Please join the discussion on moodle.org or use the page comments.

Status: INCOMPLETE
This is a guideline for a Moodle Interface Guideline. Comments: developer forum thread

Problem

Context

Forces: factors that affect selection

  • There may be too little room for several radio buttons or even for a checkbox
  • Dropdowns hide information, and thus slow down users. If users need to make selections in multiple dropdowns one after another, usage quickly becomes frustrating. Dropdowns often require very careful mouse manipulation as the vertical space that needs to be hit usually is not very big. If you click a couple of pixels off, you get to start all over again, and frustration adds up.

Solution

Common mistakes

Dropdown lists are used in Moodle (1.9) too much, and should be replaced with a checkbox when the choice is just yes/no, or otherwise usually with radio buttons.

A dropdown menu is not a navigation menu, but a form element. Hiding the submit button and making the form element submit automatically when a value is selected raises serious accessibility issues: among others, keyboard navigation is seriously hindered on many browsers. Where one is needed, a navigation menu (usually a CSS styled unordered list in HTML) should be used.

Never use single select boxes for selection of multiple items (ctrl/shift click to select multiple). Instead always use checkboxes.

Examples and implementation

Example title

Related guidelines

Checkboxes and Radio buttons should be used instead in most cases.

Related issues in the tracker

TODO: go through the misuses of dropdown lists and create tickets

Further information / Sources

GNOME HIG: Drop-down Lists