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

Matt Warden mwarden at gmail.com
Mon Jan 15 14:06:53 CST 2007

On 1/15/07, Steven Streight <steven.streight at gmail.com> wrote:
> Then, to INPUT type, you end with "checked", setting the default option.
> I'd still be curious as to what this applies to, since generally, it is
> either done to save user time, by pre-selecting what the vast majority will
> select anyway, or, nefariously, as a way to trick unwary, hurried web users
> into agreeing to what is convenient or profitable for the site owner, and
> not necessarily in the best interests of the user.
> This latter scenario is what must be avoided.

I am unsure where the confusion lies, but we are talking about a
*select box*, not a text field, nor checkbox, nor radio button, nor
textarea, etc. We're talking about:

<select name="foo" id="foo">
<option value="">Select Fruit</option>
<option value="apple">Apple</option>
<option value="orange">Orange</option>

The nature of the control is such that one of these must be selected.
There is no possibility to have zero options selected. That situation
is undefined for this control. This is not a validation rule or
somethign the developer would like; it is a characteristic of the
control itself.

Thus, the two options are:
1) List only valid values (i.e., apple, orange)
2) List valid values (i.e., apple, orange) and one invalid value
(i.e., Select Fruit), which is selected by default.

That is what we are discussing here.

Matt Warden
Cleveland, OH, USA

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