[thelist] Multiple Selects in asp / javascript.

Luther, Ron ron.luther at hp.com
Wed Aug 25 13:33:47 CDT 2004

Mark Ormerod asked:

>>Firstly - hi - I'm new on the list :)

>>Ok my problem is this - I have a series of several hundred records 
>>which I need to display in a <select> list.

Hi Mark!

Welcome.  ;-)

I think you've gotten a few answers back on how to do this technically.

Let me offer a bit of a contrarian view from a different perspective.  
Putting several hundred (or several thousand) values in a select list 
might not be a very 'friendly' design from a usability point of view.

If the users are only going to be selecting one value ... then an input 
box where they type that value in might be 'better' from an ease of use 
point of view.

If the users are going to be selecting multiple values (particularly 
non-contiguous multiple values) ... then you can talk to the users to 
see if there are 'categories' of values that you can let them select 
from instead; e.g. product lines instead of skus or sales regions 
instead of indivisual customers.

[Try selecting 25 non-contiguous values from a drop-down of 600-800 and 
see how much 'fun' it is!  ;-)  (Oh crap. Did I remember to hold down 
the Control key on that last selection?) The users may end up putting 
pins in their 'application developer' voodoo dolls.]

You can also use multiple pages and/or multiple controls to allow users 
to "step through" levels of specificity from the general to the specific.
(Instead of a list of all of your stores worldwide you could have them 
select a region, then a country, then an area within the country [e.g. 
'East Coast'], then give them a drop down showing only stores matching 
those values.)

Yep - there *is* a trade-off between number of 'clicks' and application 
size and speed. But those are some of the things you need to think 
about and discuss with the client.  It's not enough to be accurate. 
Your app has to be easy to work with as well.

(Who has spent waaaay too much time talking clients out of "Lets add 
a drop down containing the id number of every customer we've ever sold 
anything to in the last 25 years!" kinds of controls.)

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