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I have a dynamic form depending on the value selected in a select menu which is the first form input.

The content of this first select menu is dynamic: it can contain zero, one or more values.

The select menu also has a placeholder to invite the user to choose a value.

My question is : if there is only one value in the select menu, could it be automatically selected and the form generated or is it better to have a common behavior to teach the user to select a value in the select menu and then fill the rest of the form ?

NB : users will use this form repeatedly, in most cases, the select menu will contain many values.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

If the form is really used often, I would drop consistency for input-speed.

The users will probably be startled, when they see the more than one value the first time, but in the long run they will appreciate the saved clicks.

  • Edit: This only applies if the one value case is common, if it's uncommon (and/or just happens a few times when the app is used for the first time) you should stick with the manual selection.

Also you could give some hints/tooltips, if there are more than one value to input.

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This perfectly resumes my dilemma : consistency VS input-speed... my problem is that the "single value" case will occur at the early stage of application use (data will grow with application use); exactly when I want to train users... do you think than the input-speed remains more important ? – NicoINCH Dec 11 '13 at 17:06
If you use it all the time and most of the time it only has one value, then it is worth it. If it's used all the time and most of the time it has more than one value it isn't worth it :) – K.. Dec 11 '13 at 17:24
Ok, thanks a lot for your answer ! Apparently, I am in case it does not worth it. – NicoINCH Dec 12 '13 at 9:05

This is a good question, i would ask how important is it for the user to be aware of the value, will it lead to the user abandoning the entire transaction as a result?

I don't think we can come up with a generic guideline, it would always depend on how important it is for the user to know.

I would advise to have the value pre-selected if it is the only a single value. There is no point in forcing the user to select, when there is only a single option. If you can, display it as a readonly field not a dynamic select box.

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