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Is there any convention about positions/order to display options buttons/radio- buttons/checkboxes for values as:

"Very low","Low", "Medium", "High", "Very High"

for attributes as Impact, Risk, Weight,....

would it be valid in the opposite direction?

"Very High","High", "Medium","Low", "Very Low"

For me it seems more common to see "Low" on the left and "High" on the right. But i woulds like to know it is a convention or it depends on its positive/negative connotation.

1 Answer 1

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I find it is useful to imagine what the options would be if they were numbers instead of words.

Let's say your question is: "On a scale of 1-5, how likely are you to buy this product again?"

Now, you would never even think to question which order to use. The answer would always be start with "1" on the left, and "5" on the right (assuming a left-to-right language).

So the trick is, don't let "words" convince your that it should be any different.

If I change the question: "How likely are you to buy this product again?"

Imagine them as numbers. It would seem fairly obvious that "very low" should equal 1, and "very high" should equal 5. And there you have your answer.

In addition, as a rule of thumb: if you can't see an obvious reason to chose one order over the other, then there is a good chance that the order doesn't matter anyway.

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  • The statement "It would seem fairly obvious that 'very low' should equal 1, and 'very high' should equal 5" seems unsubstantiated. While the ordering of 1-5 seems natural for a LTR language, it's not necessarily clear what 1 and 5 mean.
    – jamesdlin
    Feb 24 at 8:41
  • @jamesdlin: Well we have established that 1 = low (less likely) and 5 = high (more likely). So when you have a range of terms that have "very low" at one end and "very high" at the other, we already know that 1 = low, and 5 = high. So that determines the order of the options.
    – musefan
    Feb 24 at 12:07

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