I work at a hospital, where we are trying to standardize user requests for autotext content. The autotext can support inline dropdowns with "alternate" text choices.

Simple example: User wants the default text to be: "Pulses: normal". However, they want "normal" to be a dropdown that also contains the choices "slow" and "fast".

The current (awful!) method is for the user to fill out an Excel sheet with columns for system, subsystem, default, choice 1, choice 2, choice 3, etc. We'd like to replace this with an easy-to-use web form that looks more like what they'd write in their clinical notes. However, I'm not sure how to allow users to designate which words should contain dropdowns and what the dropdown entries should contain.

It would probably be easiest (to implement) with a simple text method (e.g. "Pulses: [normal|slow|fast]"), this isn't very friendly for non-technical users.


1 Answer 1


I found that radio buttons are always faster than drop-down buttons. Especially, if there are only a few options (like slow, normal, fast). Also, they can get chosen more easy on touch screens (often used in hospitals, anyway).

  • Perhaps I should clarify. We're an informatics shop that builds the content for the clinical users, setting up a new electronic health record (EHR). Users (typically department chiefs) need a way to request what their default content should be, since it hasn't been built yet. The EHR (at the point of use) supports dropdowns in text for the users to select options. We need a way for the designer to submit the default content, including where these dropdowns should occur and what options they want them populated with. Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 17:52
  • Why not some self learning? Examine the already written text and generate the suggestions for the dropdown automatically. A little bit like some good mobile keyboard but maybe enhanced for not only simple words and filtering useless common combinations?
    – Kukulkan
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 16:30

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