3

For example, when you're indicating your weight / height, is it better to use a slider or should the user just type in the value?

In what instances should you use one or the other?

5

First, let's have a picture of slider:

enter image description here

When to use Slider instead of an input field:

  1. When you want to take input in touch devices.

Since sliders can be given input by touch, It doesn't have to open keyboard in mobile. Also it becomes faster to input in mobile devices.

  1. When you have start & end points

All sliders have starting and ending point which show the broadness of value user can input.

  1. When user can skip in between values

In some cases, user feels good to enter approximate values. For example in ratings, user don't prefer to put 3.45 out of 5. While in case of brightness or volume control, user don't even need the values

  • These are good examples of when a slider can be used. I'm not sure any are necessarily reasons to use a slider instead of an input field. – Evil Closet Monkey Dec 1 '16 at 5:52
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First, I would point out that a designer often has the option to implement both. And it also depends on the user, the interface, the environment, the context, etc. It is rarely one or the other. If it is one vs the other...

Input might be more appropriate when:

  • the user has a specific value in mind that they want to enter and the interface in not touch-centric.
  • the input data might be more accurate when requesting a user to explicitly type in the value (or reflecting objective data vs subjective. i.e. Weight vs Rating)

A slider is more appropriate when:

  • a set range of values exists
  • finding a range will require toggling (the user does not know the value beforehand)
  • approximate value is sufficient
  • touch screen interface where it might be faster to use slider than input via keyboard

But seriously, it depends.

0

A slider vs a number input, the slider gives the user more convenience, the input gives the user more precision.

A slider has predefined limitations. For example a min and max value, they have threshold (you might just let the user select numbers from 10 to 10). This limitations are clear in a slider, but would be strange in an input.

An input however, let's the user specify the exact number, it gives more control without the former limitations.

So it is good to choose a slider when there are certain limitations because they can be easily understood. When there aren't this kind of limitations both can give the same functionality but an input is more precise (imagine selecting an specific number, let's say 682, in a range of 0-1000 in a small slider with a mouse or with a touch device).

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