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Showing posts from June, 2011

Multiselect list boxes are not intuitive. Do not use.

I've come to the inescapable conclusion that multiselect list boxes are not an intuitive UI element and are actually quite frustrating to use for most users. A set of two-state checkboxes is much more intuitive. In fact, I've found that anywhere that multiselect list boxes can be used, two-state checkboxes can easily replace them for a much more intuitive solution.

Here's an example of a multiselect list box:


Set the average user in front of a computer screen and ask him to deselect all selected items. The secret is to hold the 'Ctrl' key while clicking, but how often do people actually execute a 'Ctrl + click'? Not very often. Most users, in fact, aren't even aware of special key + click combos. These things are put into applications for power users AFTER the basic functionality is implemented. All functionality of a UI element should be available through a left click or a right click. This is User Interface Design 101. The multiselect list bo…