We all use dropdowns boxes every day on the internet. A dropdown (it is also called a pull-down menu, drop-down lists or drop-down box) is simply a list of items that appear when clicking a button or rolling over a button area.
It’s used for navigation of a site and for information-entering.
These are not the most sexy part of a website, but they are critical to user experience. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, the misuse of dropdowns creates usability problems and confusion.
- Dropdowns do conserve on screen space. And most of us do know how to use a dropdown when we fill out a form. NN/G makes some good recommendations when working with dropdown boxes and dropdown menus.
- Consistent Menus: Don’t change your look from one menu to another. Also avoid interacting menus. These are caused by options in one menu changing another menue.
- Gray out unavailble options. Don’t remove,
- Avoid super long dropdowns that require scrolling. You may need to re-think you menu if it gets too long and use a mega menu.
- Avoid list when typing is faster. The example NN/G offered is when you are trying to enter your state. Instead of listing 50 states, it may be easier to just enter NY for New York.