[thelist] Accessibility/usability of "Select Option" at top of list

Steven Streight steven.streight at gmail.com
Mon Jan 15 10:18:48 CST 2007

I am against pre-checked check boxes and I think it was on this discussion
list about a year or two ago that we debated it endlessly. If an option is
generally desired by the vast majority of users, you could have a default
option pre-checked. You see this done on email newsletters, where the HTML
version is normally the pre-selected option, and you have unselect it and
select Plain Text version if that's what you want.

"Select Option" is rather dry wording. Better to be more casual and
friendly, like "Select HTML or Plain Text version".

As I read your email more closely, you claim to have seen "Select Option" as
first option in an options selection list? That's crazy. Why would anyone do
that? Sounds very stupid at face value. "Select Option" is a headline, not
an option in itself.

On 1/15/07, Russ <russ at unrealisticexpectations.com> wrote:
> > On many forms, we see something to the effect of "Select Option" as the
> > first option in a select list. Does anyone see an accessibility or
> > usability
> > issues with having this "invalid" option?
> I think there are a couple of different approaches to it--from my stance
> on
> the work that I've done where these have been used, it has been better to
> NOT provide a default value that could allow someone to easily be
> mis-categorized, but to instead utilize some method of error checking to
> ensure an option is actually selected, if that is a required value.
> --Russ
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Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate
Web Usability. Blog Revolution. Online Marketing.


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