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dropdown list implementation


jimfog
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My user is a doctor who must choose what medical specialty he/she is..that said choose from 65+ options.

So I must use a drop menu here(select tag).

Q1:Do you think I sould use an autocomplete feature?

Q2:Using an autocomplete feature or not...what do you think is the best implementation for the above scenario?

Putting it more simple...how to go about implementing a dropdown list with about 65+ options.

I have seen various implementation in the web but confused about which to choose about my use case.

 

Thanks.

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php or an ajax call for the auto complete.

I'd do a preselect by sub cat, if poss,  to knock that number down.

65 too big a number based on experience.  Triggers people to walk away. I try to limit choice to 5 +/- 2 (span of control). 

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25 minutes ago, niche said:

php or an ajax call for the auto complete.

I'd do a preselect by sub cat, if poss,  to knock that number down.

65 too big a number based on experience.  Triggers people to walk away. I try to limit choice to 5 +/- 2 (span of control). 

some clarifications....

You said ajax call for the auto complete...kind like a search feature?...keyword is sent w ajax then query echo the results back.

When you say to limit the choice....I suppose you mean what is actually seen by the user....the specialties are 65+ one way or the other.

The results appearing(the specialties) must reflect the keyword...and when typing a keyword the user will see only the specialties starting from that keyword....which is less than 10. I do not see a problem with that.

From the moment he starts typing the keyword in reality he/she never sees 65 options.

I hope it is more clear now...what do you think?

 

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Exactly.  For example, I run a grocery site that tracks prices of 2000+ items in 20+ local stores. In my town, that's 441 different kinds of diapers! Have to cut that down somehow.  I learned the hard way, that people REALLY HATE too many choices. So, I settled on 5+/-2 which is actually a thing called span of control.  It's the reason why US phone numbers had 7 digits for such a long time.

Anyway, auto complete is always tricky especially when it comes to tech speck which includes all medical speak.  That's why I prefer sub category driven pre selected dropdowns when I'm trying to sell something.    

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there is one slight problem though with this "search like" feature.

The user can enter an invalid value...a value not included in the medical specialties....whereas with a dropdown menu(select tag) he//she can only enter predefined(valid) values.

 

Any workaround to the above problem?

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Know your customer.  The reason it's a challenge is because no one has successfully solved that particular problem. 

When I need to reduce complexity, I design new paths as experiments designed to understand how people think. As long as some users (I prefer most users) are completely registered, we can can always follow-up with people that I fail.

It's important for me to add, that all my work is contingent on getting a percent of what I help produce plus the cost to code. That really keeps everyone focused, but that needs to be said before the clock starts.

Put simply, I believe businesses make their money by creating complexity. Not by simplifying. So be careful.  

   

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16 hours ago, dsonesuk said:

What about a datalist or select dropdown of keywords that will sublist using datalist to the keyword selected.

well...datalist seems to have some browser incosistencies plus the fact that it has the same drawback search like functionality....the user can enter whatever value he likes.

The nice thing about select is that the user can only choose from predefined options but that bad thing is that it is not the best solution when a menu has many choices...in my case about 70. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, dsonesuk said:

The user can enter whatever, But! what is shown that matches, for selection is predefined 

Ok...I will put it this way in case I was not specific.

The user might put whatever value he/she likes...even values not matching any value from the menu....and he leaves the value there in the input with no selection 

making....that is undesirable but in the case of autocomplete scenarios we are examining probable..entering a custom value and NOT choosing from the menu.

Unless I miss sth in the above logic.

 

In case I confused you sorry...what I am trying to say is that I must find a way to enforce selection..that is the key here.

Edited by jimfog
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