Obviously it's documented that dropdowns (select boxes) are difficult to use because they hide the selections from the user and unless the information that will be exposed is extremely intuitive, they will not click on the control to expand it. I'm wondering if anyone has employed a hover technique to a dropdown to show the hidden selections?
The reason I ask is that during user testing I noticed that users will mouse over the appropriate dropdown that contains the information they are looking for, but they won't click on it unless the exposed element is intuitive. In other words, if they are looking to select a color and the one item selected is currently "Ice Cream" and contains red, green, and blue when expanded (extreme and poor real-world example, but proves my point) they will not click.
The answer, "Make sure you put the intuitive information in the dropdown" doesn't work in this situation because we are using industry terminology that can be confusing (different issue). Exposing all the options would be the obvious choice if I have room, which I don't. I am considering the idea of a type of hover technique that exposed the selections. It feels very usable and I don't want to go down a road that has already been travelled without success.