Can we improve dropdowns?

18 Oct 2010 - 4:18pm
3 years ago
1 reply
514 reads

On Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 1:06 PM, bojcampbell wrote:

> Hassan, I'm not talking about menu items. I'm talking about
> what can be called HTML "Select" boxes. If you have examples
> of Select Boxes revealing their selections on hover and
> not on a click event, please share the links.
> That is exactly what I would like to see.

I'm not sure why you want to distinguish a select element from any
other markup-as-list for this use case, but here you go:

Hassan Schroeder
twitter: @hassan


19 Oct 2010 - 12:47pm

Inherently a dropdown which opens via hover is more "usable" than one which opens by click. This is due to hovering qualifying as a "goal-crossing task" (see . ) Mostly overlooked, the act of hovering (or crossing over an area) is easier to activate than pointing-AND-clicking.

Therefore in order to "improve" dropdowns, we might assist the displayed menu in the user's interaction. Instead of the menu Instantly disappearing upon dehovering, the menu should have a slight hide-delay (in case that user accidentally moves off), thus allowing them to quickly hover-back to keep the menu open.

In terms of layout and readability, we might "improve" a dropdown by taking into account they typeface-used and its weight in respect to the overall surrounding whitespace. A dropdown Item should be sufficiently readable such that the surrounding text-padding is not too tight and allows for easy comprehension. If applicable to the dropdown content, items may be represented by a left-justified icon-image to enhanced relation with that item's context.

Above we address Fitt's law by considering the point-and-click interaction and Usability by considering how the user may interpret, relate meaning and interact with the element.

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