Question: Numerical ranges in form inputs

14 Jul 2004 - 11:09am
10 years ago
6 replies
529 reads
Michael Quibuyen
2003

All,

I'm working on a web form which allows the user to enter a 1) single number or 2) range of numbers in a text input field.

Problem: I need to communicate to the user that a range is allowed within this text input field (e.g. 1-4; 5,6,7). There may be more than one field on the page where the user can enter a range.

Does anyone have any supported research with labeling such fields in a way that is immediately clear for the user? I'm considering a few untested methods, but I'm wondering if anyone has any quick and dirty research on this.

Thanks,
Mike Quibuyen
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Comments

14 Jul 2004 - 11:16am
Dave Malouf
2005

MS Office does this in their print dialog.
( ) Pages: [ ]
Enter either single page numbers or page
range. (E.g. 4,7,10 or 4-10).

its an interesting problem where you allow a mix like this. I'd be really
interested in hearing success/failure stories of having this combined
approach.

I've really enjoyed it much more than not having the option at all for
individual pages, but I also find I barely ever use this feature. Maybe it
is most useful for a PPT situation, but I don't find I use it in Visio which
might be considered similar. I mean how many people keep track of page #'s
this closely?

What might be a better interaction model is to look at a map of a
document/presentation and then select the pages/screens that you want to
print. Using drag to select ranges (or shift-key) or single click on/off for
single selection would be a better model.

- dave

_____

From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Mike Quibuyen
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 1:09 PM
To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: [ID Discuss] Question: Numerical ranges in form inputs

All,

I'm working on a web form which allows the user to enter a 1) single number
or 2) range of numbers in a text input field.

Problem: I need to communicate to the user that a range is allowed within
this text input field (e.g. 1-4; 5,6,7). There may be more than one field on
the page where the user can enter a range.

Does anyone have any supported research with labeling such fields in a way
that is immediately clear for the user? I'm considering a few untested
methods, but I'm wondering if anyone has any quick and dirty research on
this.

Thanks,
Mike Quibuyen

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14 Jul 2004 - 6:42pm
Coryndon Luxmoore
2004

You can look at the MS preview tool print wizard for an example of this. They allow you to checkoff any of the image files in the directory for printing initially defaulting to the single page being viewed.

I personally dislike it due to the small thumbnails which are probaly ok for photos but sucks for virtually identical mocked up screens. --Ccoryndon

-------Original Message-------
> From: David Heller <dave at interactiondesigners.com>
> Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Question: Numerical ranges in form inputs
> Sent: 14 Jul 2004 17:16:09
>
> MS Office does this in their print
> dialog.
> ( ) Pages:
> [                          
> ]
> Enter either single page numbers or
> page
> range. (E.g. 4,7,10 or 4-10).
>  
> its an interesting problem where you allow a mix like
> this. I'd be really interested in hearing success/failure stories of having this
> combined approach.
>  
> I've really enjoyed it much more than not having the
> option at all for individual pages, but I also find I barely ever use this
> feature. Maybe it is most useful for a PPT situation, but I don't find I use it
> in Visio which might be considered similar. I mean how many people keep track of
> page #'s this closely?
>  
> What might be a better interaction model is to look at
> a map of a document/presentation and then select the pages/screens that you want
> to print. Using drag to select ranges (or shift-key) or single click on/off for
> single selection would be a better model.
>  
> -  dave
>
>
>
> From:
> discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com]
> On Behalf Of Mike QuibuyenSent: Wednesday, July 14, 2004
> 1:09 PMTo:
> discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.comSubject:
> [ID Discuss] Question: Numerical ranges in form inputs
>
> All,
>  
> I'm working on a web form which allows the user
> to enter a 1) single number or 2) range of numbers in a text input
> field.
>  
> Problem: I need to communicate to the user that a
> range is allowed within this text input field (e.g. 1-4; 5,6,7). There may be
> more than one field on the page where the user can enter a range.
>  
> Does anyone have any supported research with
> labeling such fields in a way that is immediately clear for the user? I'm
> considering a few untested methods, but I'm wondering if anyone has any quick
> and dirty research on this.
>  
> Thanks,
> Mike
> Quibuyen
> _______________________________________________
> Interaction Design Discussion List
> discuss at interactiondesigners.com
> --
> to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest): http://discuss.interactiondesigners.com
> --
> Questions: lists at interactiondesigners.com
> --
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> http://interactiondesigners.com/
-------Original Message-------

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14 Jul 2004 - 12:03pm
drewbam
2004

The attached design (from Illustrator) does not provide any fancys
previews, but I find that it is much more clear than the single
free-form text field in Office.

d|b

----- Original Message -----
From: cluxmoore <cluxmoore at dakasa.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2004 17:42:00
Subject: Re: RE: [ID Discuss] Question: Numerical ranges in form inputs
To: David Heller <dave at interactiondesigners.com>,
discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com

You can look at the MS preview tool print wizard for an example of
this. They allow you to checkoff any of the image files in the
directory for printing initially defaulting to the single page being
viewed.

I personally dislike it due to the small thumbnails which are probaly
ok for photos but sucks for virtually identical mocked up screens.
--Ccoryndon

-------Original Message-------
> From: David Heller <dave at interactiondesigners.com>
> Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Question: Numerical ranges in form inputs
> Sent: 14 Jul 2004 17:16:09
>
> MS Office does this in their print
> dialog.
> ( ) Pages:
> [
> ]
> Enter either single page numbers or
> page
> range. (E.g. 4,7,10 or 4-10).
>
> its an interesting problem where you allow a mix like
> this. I'd be really interested in hearing success/failure stories of having this
> combined approach.
>
> I've really enjoyed it much more than not having the
> option at all for individual pages, but I also find I barely ever use this
> feature. Maybe it is most useful for a PPT situation, but I don't find I use it
> in Visio which might be considered similar. I mean how many people keep track of
> page #'s this closely?
>
> What might be a better interaction model is to look at
> a map of a document/presentation and then select the pages/screens that you want
> to print. Using drag to select ranges (or shift-key) or single click on/off for
> single selection would be a better model.
>
> - dave
>
>
>
> From:
> discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com]
> On Behalf Of Mike QuibuyenSent: Wednesday, July 14, 2004
> 1:09 PMTo:
> discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.comSubject:
> [ID Discuss] Question: Numerical ranges in form inputs
>
> All,
>
> I'm working on a web form which allows the user
> to enter a 1) single number or 2) range of numbers in a text input
> field.
>
> Problem: I need to communicate to the user that a
> range is allowed within this text input field (e.g. 1-4; 5,6,7). There may be
> more than one field on the page where the user can enter a range.
>
> Does anyone have any supported research with
> labeling such fields in a way that is immediately clear for the user? I'm
> considering a few untested methods, but I'm wondering if anyone has any quick
> and dirty research on this.
>
> Thanks,
> Mike
> Quibuyen
> _______________________________________________
> Interaction Design Discussion List
> discuss at interactiondesigners.com
> --
> to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest): http://discuss.interactiondesigners.com
> --
> Questions: lists at interactiondesigners.com
> --
> Announcement Online List (discussion list members get announcements already)
> http://interactiondesigners.com/announceList/
> --
> http://interactiondesigners.com/
-------Original Message-------
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14 Jul 2004 - 12:47pm
Michael Quibuyen
2003

Thanks for the feedback.

MS Office approach: We've used this example in our discussions, and I think it works fairly well in this implementation because it's a single input field and the label can be placed directly adjacent to it. The single control also allows a user to input a larger combination of pages. For example, page 1 and pages 3 through 5 (entered as: 1, 3-5), as opposed to limiting the user to either a range or a single number, but not both.

However, in the form that I'm currently working on, there may be *multiple* text fields within the same fieldset, which can accept a range of numbers. So this problem is a bit different. One solution I've considered is to denote the fields which allow a range (as an asterisk does a required field), and place the instruction for the denoted range fields in a logical area within the fieldset.

Some background on the user task: This is a data entry-type form. The user will have some printed docs in hand and will know the range of numbers he will want to enter beforehand. So labeling the field clearly and properly is what I'm trying to accomplish.

Thanks,
Mike Quibuyen

----- Original Message -----
From: David Heller
To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 10:16 AM
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Question: Numerical ranges in form inputs

MS Office does this in their print dialog.
( ) Pages: [ ]
Enter either single page numbers or page
range. (E.g. 4,7,10 or 4-10).

its an interesting problem where you allow a mix like this. I'd be really interested in hearing success/failure stories of having this combined approach.

I've really enjoyed it much more than not having the option at all for individual pages, but I also find I barely ever use this feature. Maybe it is most useful for a PPT situation, but I don't find I use it in Visio which might be considered similar. I mean how many people keep track of page #'s this closely?

What might be a better interaction model is to look at a map of a document/presentation and then select the pages/screens that you want to print. Using drag to select ranges (or shift-key) or single click on/off for single selection would be a better model.

- dave

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Mike Quibuyen
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 1:09 PM
To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: [ID Discuss] Question: Numerical ranges in form inputs

All,

I'm working on a web form which allows the user to enter a 1) single number or 2) range of numbers in a text input field.

Problem: I need to communicate to the user that a range is allowed within this text input field (e.g. 1-4; 5,6,7). There may be more than one field on the page where the user can enter a range.

Does anyone have any supported research with labeling such fields in a way that is immediately clear for the user? I'm considering a few untested methods, but I'm wondering if anyone has any quick and dirty research on this.

Thanks,
Mike Quibuyen

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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--
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--
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--
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14 Jul 2004 - 12:57pm
Dave Malouf
2005

This discussion reminds me of my very first CD Player, circa 1985. Yes, I'm
an early adopter of many things and this case got my tone-deaf opera loving
father to join me in this habit.

It was an Akai or Aiwa system (can never get those two companies straight)
and they noticed early on that people were having problems programming their
CD players, so they came up w/ a funky method to do it. I've never seen it
since, so I'm assuming it failed miserably. ;)

There were buttons on the player for number entry, "to", "and", and
"without". The user would place a disc in the player and start the
programming function, type a track number followed by one of the buttons.

<1> + <to> + <ten>, was simply playin sequence tracks 1-10
<1> + <and> + <5> + <7> + <to> + <15> + <without> + <13>, was (not so
simply) play tracks 1,5,7,8,9,10,11,12,14,15 (or 1,5,7-12,14-15) ... Sounds
fun, eh?

I remember thinking, How cool .. and then never using it. Of course I never
program a CD player anymore anyway, but that is probably just me.

To bring it back to the point for Michael, I'm really interested in this
problem from a behavioral perspective. How can a data-entry form that
requires this level of detail be made easier for someone. I think the
solution that Michael is already proposing has merit, but I wonder if it is
not thinking of the item too much in its context of a form, instead of as
something that is really in an interactive medium. Forms to me are not
interactive in and of themselves. Data entry is not interactive from a
process flow perspective, though data entry can be enhanced by interactivity
for sure. So I'm wondering if maybe we are missing a dimension to the pie.

-- dave

_____

From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Mike Quibuyen
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 2:48 PM
To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Question: Numerical ranges in form inputs

Thanks for the feedback.

MS Office approach: We've used this example in our discussions, and I think
it works fairly well in this implementation because it's a single input
field and the label can be placed directly adjacent to it. The single
control also allows a user to input a larger combination of pages. For
example, page 1 and pages 3 through 5 (entered as: 1, 3-5), as opposed to
limiting the user to either a range or a single number, but not both.

However, in the form that I'm currently working on, there may be *multiple*
text fields within the same fieldset, which can accept a range of numbers.
So this problem is a bit different. One solution I've considered is to
denote the fields which allow a range (as an asterisk does a required
field), and place the instruction for the denoted range fields in a logical
area within the fieldset.

Some background on the user task: This is a data entry-type form. The user
will have some printed docs in hand and will know the range of numbers he
will want to enter beforehand. So labeling the field clearly and properly is
what I'm trying to accomplish.

Thanks,
Mike Quibuyen

----- Original Message -----

From: David Heller <mailto:dave at interactiondesigners.com>
To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 10:16 AM
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Question: Numerical ranges in form inputs

MS Office does this in their print dialog.
( ) Pages: [ ]
Enter either single page numbers or page
range. (E.g. 4,7,10 or 4-10).

its an interesting problem where you allow a mix like this. I'd be really
interested in hearing success/failure stories of having this combined
approach.

I've really enjoyed it much more than not having the option at all for
individual pages, but I also find I barely ever use this feature. Maybe it
is most useful for a PPT situation, but I don't find I use it in Visio which
might be considered similar. I mean how many people keep track of page #'s
this closely?

What might be a better interaction model is to look at a map of a
document/presentation and then select the pages/screens that you want to
print. Using drag to select ranges (or shift-key) or single click on/off for
single selection would be a better model.

- dave

_____

From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Mike Quibuyen
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 1:09 PM
To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: [ID Discuss] Question: Numerical ranges in form inputs

All,

I'm working on a web form which allows the user to enter a 1) single number
or 2) range of numbers in a text input field.

Problem: I need to communicate to the user that a range is allowed within
this text input field (e.g. 1-4; 5,6,7). There may be more than one field on
the page where the user can enter a range.

Does anyone have any supported research with labeling such fields in a way
that is immediately clear for the user? I'm considering a few untested
methods, but I'm wondering if anyone has any quick and dirty research on
this.

Thanks,
Mike Quibuyen

_____

_______________________________________________
Interaction Design Discussion List
discuss at interactiondesigners.com
--
to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
http://discuss.interactiondesigners.com
--
Questions: lists at interactiondesigners.com
--
Announcement Online List (discussion list members get announcements already)
http://interactiondesigners.com/announceList/
--
http://interactiondesigners.com/

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15 Jul 2004 - 1:11am
H Taylor
2004

Hi, Mike.

I can't help with references to research, but I thought I'd point out
that MS Word 2004 on OS X (not sure about other versions/platforms) has
a field like the one you describe in the print dialog box. It is
labeled with some examples of valid input and I found it "immediately
clear" how it worked (not that I'm a statistically significant sample,
of course).

But if you've got a couple of ideas, you could do some "quick and dirty
research" of your own -- test them on a few people.

- Hal

Mike Quibuyen wrote:

> All,
>
> I'm working on a web form which allows the user to enter a 1) single
> number or 2) range of numbers in a text input field.
>
> Problem: I need to communicate to the user that a range is allowed
> within this text input field (e.g. 1-4; 5,6,7). There may be more than
> one field on the page where the user can enter a range.
>
> Does anyone have any supported research with labeling such fields in a
> way that is immediately clear for the user? I'm considering a few
> untested methods, but I'm wondering if anyone has any quick and dirty
> research on this.
>
> Thanks,
> Mike Quibuyen

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