When a widget is just not right ( was RE: Re-ordering rows in a table.)

26 Feb 2004 - 5:21pm
567 reads
Dave Malouf
2005

Hey there,

Andrei said, why would you ever use a checkbox for a radio button? Sandeep
said he was doing it for the wrong reasons.

I recently designed an app where I did just that.

Why?

Well, I made the decision w/ my peers b/c while the behavior is wrong, we
discovered:
1. this behavior is actually not well understood by our end-users
2. that radio buttons all stacked up in a vertical row just looks really
weird. It creates a warping effect in attempting to read the labels next
them and the clarity gets a lost. Compared to the checkboxes in the same
position, it turned out to be worth it.
3. We also learned that expressing the modal difference between single and
multi select was also unimportant to users. If they wanted to multi-select
they would try whether or not there were checkboxes or radio buttons
present.

The question I would make is why radio buttons at all? Ok, someone came up
w/ a convention, but is the convention worth maintaining for its own sake?
Maybe my data is specific or the testing was wrong, but lets hypothesize
that it is good data and transferable do we just hold to convention? Bad
ones? Even seemingly architypical ones?

-- dave

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