I need a multiselect picker where in many cases the user will select most of the options. The current list has about 20 items in it and in many cases people would be choosing 15+ items so i want to make sure that use case doesn't have a really slow painful experience.

The best i could think of was to having a list of checkboxes as i thought that was the fastest way to

  1. See all of the items
  2. Select many items quickly (versus continually clicking on a dropdown list or entering into a search)

The downside is that it takes up more space than i want given i have to list out each item (especially if the list grows) but maybe the downside is worth the upside points above.

Any suggestions for any better user experience when a user has to have multiselect and they will often select many of the options?

  • Sounds like you need the list of checkboxes and a box for "select all". That means that users may choose to select all and then de-select individual ones Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 14:01

3 Answers 3


I have to say that the fastest way this is going to be done is by creating a list and putting check boxes next to them for selection. This requires the least clicking for the user and the fastest access. If you are really worried about the space this will take up there are a couple other options you can pursue. You could throw all of the items into a scroll box so that you can simply scroll through your choices make your selections and take up less space. Or you could spread them out both vertically and horizontally so that they appear to take up less room maybe just the top of the page. You could always do a drag and drop scenario as well, but that requires the most clicking and could get complicated for the user. I would say your best option is to go with the checkbox click as it is simplest for the user, requires the least clicking and overall may take up more room but provide maximum usability. If you were to choose the scroll box option:

1. Easy selection of items
2. No constant clicking of a drop down box
3. Most selections are visible a lot of the time

1. Cannot see **all** of the items at once
2. May require more clicking to go through the scroll box

Shooting in the dark here since I don't know your requriements and software but anyways:

  • Make a multi selection area that the user can show by clicking on a drop down like button.
  • The area stays until the user wants it to close (such as by clicking "ok", outside the area etc)
  • Incorporate a "select all" (and if fitting, a select "none") option since you hinted that many user probably will select more than half of the items
  • Use check boxes since that's the standard way of selecting multiple items
  • Make the entire row clickable to select the item (not just the check box)
  • when the selection area is closed, tell the user then number of selected items.

The drop down is good idea if you don't have space for a bigger user control. Otherwise - make all (or as many as possible) of the items visible at once.

Check out this widget that has some of the properties I mentioned above.


A good strategy might be to include something to allow the user to "select all". This will result in fewer clicks for the user if they wish to select at least ((n/2)+1) options, where n is the total number of options.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.