<- Product Newsletter /

#19 - How to use Dropdowns

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Article written by
Juan Jesús Millo

I am going to change the format of the theory articles in the newsletter, mostly to make them lighter and faster to read, keeping them between 250 and 500 words, so they can be read in a couple of minutes. When I have a certain number of publications, I will ask to see what about 😁

What is a drop-down menu?

What is a dropdown? A dropdown is an interactive element with which we can organize information inside a small drawer and take out the data we want. And an important data, always one data at a time, if we take out several data from the same component is no longer a dropdown, is a listbox.

Drop-down menu types

Also comment that there are two types of dropdown: boxes and menus. The boxes are used in form elements and attributes, having to select one of them being permanent or temporary, or menus, carrying out an action (an action itself or navigate).

Thanks to this small box we will be able to have our "desktop" more organized, resorting to it when we need it and not having everything above. These dropdowns can be of four types:

  • Command (dropdown-menu): when we want to activate something based on the option.
  • Navigation (dropdown-menu): when we want to go somewhere.
  • Form (dropdown-box): when we want to choose an option.
  • Attribute (dropdown-box): when we want to select an attribute

As you can see, when it is a menu, we choose one and carry it out, but if what we want is to navigate or change the attribute, we will use the box format.

How to use drop-down menus?

And finally, a few notes on how to use them:

  • The dropdown options should not change, if they must change use a feedback message or similar to let the user know that within this block the information has changed.
  • Do not hide information, if an option is not available, maintain consistency and transparency and mark these options in gray.
  • Do not abuse the options, if there are too many, find another way to display them as mega menus. Here Fitt's law is the law.
  • Avoid using them if the information is mundane like the year; the user will have a lower interaction cost if he writes it down before looking it up in the list.
  • Don't hide the dropdown title when it is unfolded.
  • Don't use them for first levels of navigation, why hide them?
  • Enable keyboard navigation (when we type “Sp" to search for Spain) for power users.

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