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I have a report card form that I'm creating for customers to rate performance in several areas. Our old format was using radio buttons, each labeled A-F with one N/A option. The current idea from marketing is to just have users input the letter grade in a text field.

I'm thinking that there's a more simple intuitive way to present this kind of data, but I'm having trouble finding any ideas. Perhaps I'm searching for the wrong thing. I was considering using a fixed unit slider and displaying the letter grade next to it. I don't think that management would be too keen on changing the rating unit either (no 5 stars or anything). Any great methods out there?

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What was the rationale for dropping the radio buttons? Is there any potential need for in between settings, like B+ or C-? – AgilePro Jan 10 '13 at 18:44
No, I guess I just feel like 6 radio buttons for each topic is a little tacky and cluttered. – Marc Ripley Jan 10 '13 at 19:24
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you have enough room, six radio buttons have the advantage that all the options are clearly laid out all the time. One can be selected with a single mouse click. The selected option, and all the alternatives remain visible.

Assuming that you don't have enough space for this luxury, then next best will be a pull-down pick list. This takes only the space to display the one selected grade. The down-arrow is a visual clue to bring up the list of options. Since you have only 6 options selection of one is quick, familiar to all users, and easier than having to type a key from the keyboard. Done correctly, a user pressing the associated key will also select from the list, so the user can either type the grade, or use the pull down, whichever they prefer.

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This works. I was hoping somebody had a cleaner way to present it, but I guess I shouldn't overlook the power of radio buttons. I'll just have to find a clever way to style them. Thanks for your tips. – Marc Ripley Jan 10 '13 at 22:11

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