Default value in chekbox

23 Feb 2008 - 10:58am
6 years ago
8 replies
770 reads
Yann Allin
2008

HI,

I need some help about the right default value in a set of checkboxes...

Is it better to use a "All" choice selected by default in a set of
checkboxes or to leave all of them unselected in order to include all the
choces.

Thanks for you answer,

Yann

Comments

23 Feb 2008 - 12:38pm
Bill Fernandez
2007

Yann--

I hate trap doors in UIs, meaning actions you take that lead you to a
new state from which you can not easily (or ever) revert.

Therefore I hate radio button groups in which initially no button is
selected (typically representing an "all" or "none" state), but once
you select a button you can never return to the no-button-selected
state.

So I absolutely recommend, and indeed implore, you to include an
initially-selected "all" or "none" radio button, as appropriate.

--Bill

At 4:58 PM +0100 2/23/08, Yann Allin wrote:
>HI,
>
>I need some help about the right default value in a set of checkboxes...
>
>Is it better to use a "All" choice selected by default in a set of
>checkboxes or to leave all of them unselected in order to include all the
>choces.
>
>Thanks for you answer,
>
>Yann

--

======================================================================
Bill Fernandez * User Interface Architect * Bill Fernandez Design

(505) 346-3080 * bf_list1 AT billfernandez DOT com *
http://billfernandez.com
======================================================================

23 Feb 2008 - 12:47pm
Bill Fernandez
2007

Yann--

Oops, I misread your question. You said checkboxes, not radio buttons.

In a set of checkboxes, where checking a box means "this option is
selected", the standard way to show that all options are selected is
to check all the boxes. If you wish, you can place a button adjacent
to the group that checks (or unchecks) them all for you in one
operation.

If having any one box checked means "this option is selected" then
it would be absolutely wrong to make no-boxes-selected mean
all-options-selected.

--Bill

>HI,
>
>I need some help about the right default value in a set of checkboxes...
>
>Is it better to use a "All" choice selected by default in a set of
>checkboxes or to leave all of them unselected in order to include all the
>choces.

--

======================================================================
Bill Fernandez * User Interface Architect * Bill Fernandez Design

(505) 346-3080 * bf_list1 AT billfernandez DOT com *
http://billfernandez.com
======================================================================

23 Feb 2008 - 1:30pm
jason zietz
2007

> Is it better to use a "All" choice selected by default in a set of
> checkboxes or to leave all of them unselected in order to include all
> the choces.

It depends.

Having "All" selected by default has the potential to require the user
to perform extra steps in order to complete the task in a manner of
their choosing if they in fact do not want "All" selected. Try to
identify what the user most likely wants.

That said, there may be business requirements around an interface like
this. Just look to the frequently lambasted import contacts/send
invitation interfaces on many websites today. After importing your
contacts, often times every contact is selected by default. Annoying,
yes, and the cause of many accidental invitations, but some businesses
would rather run the risk of aggravating some people in order to
increase their subscriber base.

Regardless of whether all options are selected or deselected by default,
it's certainly not a bad idea to have a one-click select all/deselect
all toggle if you have more than a few options available.

jason

24 Feb 2008 - 10:53am
Todd O\'Neill
2007

If you follow the rule of "radio buttons are fro single choices in a set
and Checkboxes are for multiple choices in a set" then the problem becomes
simpler.

The only time I would have "choices" pre-selected were if I had a business
imperative to drive people toward a particular choice. All checkboxes
checked would be because I want visitors to have All the selections. That's
the "opt out" choice and goes against permission marketing concepts.

For radio buttons I would have one pre-selected only when I understand that
most visitors select that choice; that becomes a kind of usability
accomodation.

Todd O'Neill
San Antonio, TX
Doing Media blog
http://www.doingmedia.net
oneill.todd at gmail.com

24 Feb 2008 - 12:36pm
Jeff Seager
2007

I'm with Todd: "For radio buttons I would have one pre-selected only
when I understand that most visitors select that choice; that becomes
a kind of usability accommodation."

I'd go a step further to suggest that this can be a usability issue
on the delivery side, too, depending on your specific use. Leaving
choices unselected by default helps assure that all users have
actually selected an option in all cases, rather than overlooking and
accepting a default option that may lead you to misinterpret whatever
data you're gathering.

As Todd suggests, it also depends whether you want people to choose
or whether you want to want to lead them. I may not be a typical
user, but I immediately discredit any app that appears to give me a
choice but pushes me -- however gently -- in one direction. Many
online polls, for example, have such simplistic choices as to be
completely trivial and irrelevant. I won't waste my time with them,
and I can spot them in microseconds. So the next question may be
(depending on specifics of intent), how important is credibility?

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26405

24 Feb 2008 - 6:33pm
Karthik Vijayakumar
2007

Karthik Vijayakumar <vijay_kart at yahoo.com> wrote: Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2008 15:32:42 -0800 (PST)
From: Karthik Vijayakumar <vijay_kart at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Default value in chekbox
To: Yann Allin <yann.allin at gmail.com>

Yann:

The best solution to this problem is to check *one* choice (checkbox) which you think is the most popular option (which most users prefer to have on their selection screen) or *none* checked. *All* checked option would at times return results that are overwhelming to the user or would not produce any result at all depending on your logic.

Karthik Vijayakumar
http://home.cogeco.ca/~kbijayakumar

Yann Allin <yann.allin at gmail.com> wrote:

28 Feb 2008 - 5:55pm
Formulate
2007

Hi Yann
I would recommend having none of the options checked by default but
including an "All" checkbox to simplify this selection, especially
if there are more than 5 options.
Having none of the options checked:
- encourages the user to think about what they actually want
- prevents accidental selection of an option if the user doesn't
notice that an option is checked.
Note that checking the "All" box on should check on all the other
options and vice versa. Similarly, if the user checks "All" but
then unchecks an option, "All" should be unchecked.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26405

29 Feb 2008 - 1:09pm
Jason Conness
2008

Amen, Jessica!

Can I share a little personal experience I had on this matter?

One day I was researching interactions on a dating/social site.
(Research, riiight.) No really I was. I was interested in their
heavy use of DHTML. I'm happily married. (comes into story later)

So I went to an area on their site where I intended to invite a
couple friends to check it out. It used the Google Contacts lookup
that seems to be getting more and more popular. So there I was with
all 300 of my gmail contacts. Now, mistake number one: They
redesigned the checkboxes to be a little more stylized. This made it
unclear to whether or not an item was checked or not. Mistake number
two: I had assumed they wouldn't default ALL contacts to send
invites too. BUT THEY DID. I thought I had checked my 2 friends but
really was un-checking them. I hit "Invite". Thinking I had only
invited two, I had Invited nearly all contacts out of my Gmail
account. I had to send a rather embarrassing apology so that nobody
thought I was leaving my wife or looking for a mistress through a
dating site.

I am still a little ticked about it. In fact, I just may list the
URL right now, right here: ........ www.iminlikewithyou.com

There I did it.

Save your users. Do not default to "All".

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26405

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