We have a discussion between UXers and developers:

UX: In a multiselect dropdown one should add/remove item to/from selection through checkbox and clicking the label. When one wants to remove all or select all use the dedicated (select/remove all) button.

Developers: In a multiselect dropdown one should add /remove item to/from selection only thought the checkbox. If one selects the label of an item; the selection should be cleared and you should only select that particular item. Additionally, hold ctrl if you want to add through label clicking, like Windows Explorer.

For instance in the below image, clicking the words "Microsoft Syncronization Services" will select only that folder, but clicking the checkbox will select it in addition to the four other selected items.

Windows Explorer example

Is one of these solutions more correct or sensible?

note that its about the multiselect dropdown control. We also have checkbox groups and collection selectors

  • As I look for examples - Gmail uses the 'developer' solution when adding labels to selected emails. Nice when I only want 1 label, but I frequently hit the label when I want to add multiples, and am annoyed I need to open the drop down again. Feb 6, 2015 at 15:22

2 Answers 2


I would go with the UX solution, and this is why:

The two options you considered differ on the response to clicking on the label of the item. This controversy was raised because clicking on the label does not have a clear affordance as to what it does. A user will not know what this click does until he actually clicks.

Hence, I support the less destructive result where another check would be added, rather than the potentially disastrous scenario where a lot of selecting work is deleted.


I would go with the UX recommendation described above. You could do a couple quick user tests and see how people expect it to behave to support your hypothesis.

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