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The app will have a drop-down box. One of the options will be something like

(Enter your own reason)

If that option is selected then a text field will be displayed.

Question: what is the suggested text for the drop-down item? Should it be in parentheses? Should it be a verb or noun? E.g. (Add a reason) vs (Other reason)

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would suggest an option like "Other Reason", which, if selected, pops up a textbox below with the prompt "Please describe your reason:". This seems to be a common practice and it mirrors physical form design.

I would advise against putting the drop down item text in parentheses; if anything, you could put hint text in parentheses, i.e. "Other Reason (enter below)".

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Agreed, "Other Reason (enter below)" is best IMO. – bendataclear Jul 31 '13 at 16:23
I think I'd prefer "another reason" rather than "other reason" because it clearly references that the reasons above are not adequate whereas "other reason" implies that the previous options are adequate and the user has a supplimentary reason on top of them. – Racheet Aug 2 '13 at 9:34

I thought that was the differentiation between a combo-box and a drop-down list. A combo-box allows you to add an entry (text-box) or select from a drop-down list - thus a combo-box. A list box requires you to select a value from the list.

To prevent errored close re-entry (ie. user inputs "mr smith" when "Mr. Smith" is already there) you can update the text box with the closest value, and everything beyond what the user typed as selected (so it'll refresh when the user types the next letter)

You could also require a confirmation if the user adds a new entry - if adding new entries is costly behind the scenes.

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