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Software Testing >> Usability & Accessibility Testing

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koolforcats
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Reged: 02/27/07
Posts: 27
Loc: NJ
Is there a standard for select box options?
      #636729 - 07/29/10 12:43 PM

I've googled this and checked the forums with no luck.

I'm testing a new screen and we have a select box with 40 options. To me that seems like too many and should be more of a look-up. I've seen select boxes before with many more options(choosing your country on a web page comes to mind).

So it got me wondering, what, if any, should be the max number of options in a select box for a good user interface? I know there will always be exceptions(i.e. select country), but generally speaking, is there a ballpark number?

Thanks,
Bill

--------------------
You have to manage your own career and skill set. No one else will.


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Joe Strazzere
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Reged: 05/15/00
Posts: 12344
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Re: Is there a standard for select box options? [Re: koolforcats]
      #636738 - 07/29/10 01:31 PM

No ballpark that I know of.

50 States in the US - that's pretty standard and almost always presented as a dropdown list.

If the 40+ options are easily understood without each having to be read, and in a obvious order, it may not be considered too many.

Usability testing might help uncover what your customers want - which is probably the only opinion that matters.

--------------------
- Joe
Visit AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

I speak only for me. I do not speak for my employer, nor for anyone else.


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koolforcats
Member


Reged: 02/27/07
Posts: 27
Loc: NJ
Re: Is there a standard for select box options? [Re: Joe Strazzere]
      #636925 - 07/30/10 07:12 PM

Thanks Joe -

The requirements used come from some government documents listing all the options for a field and their codes. The customer has no say in the matter of how we list them, or in what order.

Our developers decided to list them as in the gov't document by the 2 digit code. But the user does not see the code and only sees a lot of options not in any order, or even alphabetically for that matter.

I can kind of understand having some 40 options(single select), but in no order is what gets me. Our developers are good for that - the UI does not take into account what the users might find more useful or the ease of use for a screen. What would you say to a value that can be "Yes" or "No" but a select box is used rather than a checkbox...

I don't want to become the quality police, but sometimes it seems that way.

Thanks again for your response -

- Bill

--------------------
You have to manage your own career and skill set. No one else will.


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Joe Strazzere
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Re: Is there a standard for select box options? [Re: koolforcats]
      #636931 - 07/31/10 04:42 AM

Quote:

Our developers decided to list them as in the gov't document by the 2 digit code. But the user does not see the code and only sees a lot of options not in any order, or even alphabetically for that matter.




It's unfortunate that the customer has no say. If I were the user, I don't think I'd be pleased.

But then, pleasing the customer doesn't seem to be part of the requirements. Kinda sad.

--------------------
- Joe
Visit AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

I speak only for me. I do not speak for my employer, nor for anyone else.


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Peter RuscoeModerator
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Reged: 03/18/02
Posts: 7686
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Re: Is there a standard for select box options? [Re: Joe Strazzere]
      #636943 - 07/31/10 01:13 PM

koolforcats, your explanation is a little confusing, combining (as it appears to) the government specified requirements, and what the developers "decided to do."

Do you have written specifications (at that level of detail)? If not, your first task should be to demand them - you can't test unless you know what you are testing.

If your superiors refuse to provide that, then write them yourself, as you see fit, and publish them as the basis upon which you are testing. Then the developers can try to shoot them down, but (if your management has any cojones) they will only succeed if they can justify such an illogical choice as implementing a drop-down list ordered by its internal (and invisible) code.


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koolforcats
Member


Reged: 02/27/07
Posts: 27
Loc: NJ
Re: Is there a standard for select box options? [Re: Peter Ruscoe]
      #636954 - 08/01/10 05:18 PM

Peter -

I have the same specs that the developers started off with. But as we all know, as time goes on, and more phone calls are made and emails sent, those specs get changed, but the doc rarely gets updated.

The specs list a table of 40 codes and their values/phrases for a type of licensing. My goal on Monday is to find out why the numerical value which is hidden from the user was the chosen order. They did not change the specs. They just chose to list the options by the numeric code as the table in the government doc rather than think of usability.

My manager is the CTO, who is off site and who is also the head of Product Development - the department who wrote this new functionality. There always seems to be a conflict of interest looming. Anything that has to do with UI and is brought up by me(the QA Dept) is rarely changed even though it may be said to be a better way. Usually I get the answer, "If the customer complains, they can pay for us to change it." Our company also does not believe in "design bugs" - if it was to be designed a certain way, it would have been listed in the specs, thus, nothing to say the current design is wrong.

- Bill

--------------------
You have to manage your own career and skill set. No one else will.


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Peter RuscoeModerator
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Re: Is there a standard for select box options? [Re: koolforcats]
      #636955 - 08/01/10 05:53 PM

Starts to sound like time to hit the "update resume" button, Bill!

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