[thelist] RE: checked boxes or unchecked boxes

Scott Brady dsbrady at gmail.com
Thu Oct 21 14:19:23 CDT 2004

On Wed, 20 Oct 2004 19:05:48 -0500, ANDREA STREIGHT  wrote:
> Make it easy for users? If it's just one check mark, how does this make it
> easy for users?

Because it saves them a click.  You seem to be advocating not
pre-checking the box in order to make it easier on the vast minority
who would want to uncheck it, thereby forcing the VAST majority to
check the box every time.

> Pre-checking a box is, in my opinion, forcing an option on a user, even if
> it's a highly likely option.

I have yet to see how it's "forcing" an option on a user.  You seem to
be saying that checking the box somehow makes it impossible to
uncheck.  That would be a radio button.

> A pre-selected box should really just be a Submit button, not a check box.
> You know most users want to perform a task, you provide a button to activate
> this performance. Not a pre-selected box, with another non-pre-selected box
> next to it.

So, in this case, you're going to give them the following buttons to
choose from:
1) Post Reply to Board
2) Send Reply to Author Only
3) Post Reply and Send Reply
4) Preview Reply

You actually think that's more "usable" than 2 clearly marked
checkboxes and the 2 submit buttons (Preview or Post are your two
submit options)?  That's what I'm getting from your response.

> And it is a very troublesome scenario where even checking one box has no
> effect on the pre-checked box. Bottom line: users sometimes get things they
> do not want.

Yes, that happens.  But it happens a very small percentage of the
time.   And, there's nothing stopping that from happening with the box
unchecked. ("Oops, I checked the wrong box")

> You still have to click on that Submit button, or Preview it first then
> Submit. I've not seen Preview pre-checked, even though most blogs probably
> prefer a person Preview first to check for typos and to cool down any rage
> that might be present.

In this case, there are two buttons, one to post and one to preview. 
The 2 checkboxes don't affect either choice differently.

> I have seen these pre-selected forms, usually many pre-checked boxes, that I
> have to unselect, and it's not making my life any easier at all. Generally,
> if I see a slew of pre-selected boxes, I figure they have poor marketing
> sense, lacking in customer friendliness, and possibly worse qualities, pushy
> to say the least, so I will bail out and move on to other business.

Yes, that's a problem. But you're generalizing to EVERY situation to
then say that prechecked checkboxes are an "abomination".  There are
many cases when prechecked boxes are bad, but there are some where
it's not.

Scott Brady

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