[thelist] RE: checked vs. unchecked boxes

ANDREA STREIGHT astreight at msn.com
Thu Oct 21 13:11:59 CDT 2004

"Unchecked is a state." A state in union with freedom of choice.

It's not my fault it could be default of the web builder.

Unchecked is a state, but not a choice imposed upon the user.

I sure hope we can rid the web of the "pre-selection" syndrome where site 
owners try to trick users into granting them permission to do things the 
users don't really want.

A big concern is the the actual user experience be acknowledged: users are 
typically in a hurry. Especially when they've got a deadline and they need 
some information quickly and it's late at night and they're dead tired.

Very common, this noxious "pre-selection", at online publication sites. They 
impede your information foraging with the requirement to Register, but it's 
often free. So you comply. Then, after giving them personal information they 
can use to build user profiles and transaction profiles, they subject you to 
an incredible display of "newsletters" they hope you'll subscribe to, plus 
options to receive "offers" from sponsors or affiliates or advertisers.

If I have to "uncheck" a lot of check boxes, which is par for the course, I 
bail out. And I'm irritated that I wasted so much time at the site.

And how about those "pre-selected" boxes that remain selected even when you 
check what you consider the opposite, or the alternative? Who would want 
both HTML and Plain Text newsletters? Yet this happens often. HTML is 
pre-selected, but when you select Plain Text, the HTML is also still 

Pre-selection is probably not something web designers invented or are proud 
of implementing. It's the marketing people, I suspect, since I am one, who 
foist this on the web design staff and don't want any guff from them about 

I've just given you one usability analyst's opinion. I appreciate opposing 
views more than agreement. So thanks for entering the debate, which I 
consider rather important.

Steven Streight
Web Usability Analysis
Web Content Writing
Online & Direct Marketing

astreight at msn.com

www.vaspersthegrate.blogspot.com  *Web Usability*

www.streightsite.blogspot.com  *Mentally Correct Marketing*

*Experimental Computer Art*

www.stcsig.org/usability/newsletter/0408-user-observation.html  *latest 
published online article* 

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