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[31]Setting default in dropboxes, where applicable

Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:44 pm
by daverj
Introduction:
I have not used Joomla! 1.5 so do not know if this has been addressed there. I am using the current 1.0.x version and it is an issue there.

The Issue:
In many pages where drop boxes (HTML form "Select" boxes) exist for selecting one of several options, often there are no options or perhaps one option. In those cases it wastes the time of the user to display "select an option" or some such similar text in the dropbox and then make them click that dropbox to select the one option available (or to discover there are none).

The reason to address it:
Sometimes the authors of large complicated CMS systems forget about the tedium of the day to day use of such systems. There are times when the code can do something automatically that reduces the steps or the number of clicks a user has to go through each time they do a given task. Any reduction in those steps, provided it does not remove any functionality or increase the steps for users not following a certain pattern, is welcome by the end user who has to follow those steps over and over again each day.

The solution:
PHP code that is creating a drop box on a page, such as a content submit page, can calculate how many elements it has that must be placed within that drop box. Obviously if there are multiple items to place in that drop box, then the current method of having the default item shown be a comment to the user that they must select an item from the list is appropriate.

The code that creates that drop box can be written in such a way that if there is only one selection to be made, the code can set that one choice as the default or "selected" choice. Then the user does not have to select anything in that drop box. The code doesn't even have to remove that initial entry saying "Please select an option" (or whatever it says). It simply needs to set the one choice as the "selected" option in the list so it is pre-selected for the user.

If there are no selections at all, the code could even not create the drop box, or could simply create one item in it that says "no choices available" or something to that effect. But this is a separate issue or decision the developers would need to make. My reason for submitting this request is primarily about the times when there is only one choice in the drop box.

An example:
An example would be a section that has only one category in it. The submit content page currently shows a drop box where the category must be selected before content can be submitted. Inside that drop box is the first item which says "Select a Category" and the second item, which is the one category available. Currently the drop box defaults to showing that first item and forces the user to select the category or their submission fails. But in this case with only one category the code would be able to select that category by default in the drop box and the user would not have to do anything.

Effect on compatibility:
None. The user interface looks and feels exactly the same, and on forms where there are multiple choices, nothing changes. It is only on those cases where there is only one choice to be made that the code simplifies things by pre-selecting that choice.

Epilog:
Some people might consider this suggestion trivial. But I feel it is an example of the type of thing where the developers can make a slight change in the code and the user experience is enhanced by having one less click they need to do every time they submit such a form.

Re: [31]Setting default in dropboxes, where applicable

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:17 pm
by bt-t
I absolutely agree with you on that one. User should not have to perform more CLICKS than ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! if there is only one category published it should automatically be selected by default on content creation!
a simple programmatic check should fix that problem. I hope that joomla developer team spend a couple of days on this issue to relieve thousand of users from thousands of unnecessary clicks to select the only published category under content creation!!!

Good point!