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I am creating a quiz and one of the questions needs to have a list of options for the user to select one. But also, if the answer is not in the options, I need to allow the user the write the answer in using a text input.

At the moment I have a list of radio buttons like so:

() Option 1
() Option 2
...
() Option 10
() Option 11
() Option not listed
[Next button]

When the 'Option not listed' radio button is selected - a text box is shown where the user can enter their answer. Like so:

() Option 1
() Option 2
...
() Option 10
() Option 11
(*) Option not listed
[Enter answer here (text input)]
[Next button]

The text box is then hidden if one of the other options are selected.

While radio buttons seem like an obvious choice, my problem with this approach is that the user has to click twice to make their selection (selecting an option, then selecting the next button).

However, if the options are converted to buttons, they can simply select the relevant option and it will take them to the next question. The problem with this approach is the text input option seems a little disjointed. Like so:

[Option 1]
[Option 2]
...
[Option 10]
[Option 11]
If your answer is not listed, enter it here: 
[(text input)]
[Next button]

Are there any guidelines for the best approach here?

Thanks!

  • How often do you expect the "Option not listed" answer to be used? – JohnGB Jun 15 '16 at 9:48
  • @JohnGB I expect it to be used less than the pre-defined options. I'd say around 20% of the time the user will need to use the text input. – user2424495 Jun 15 '16 at 10:03
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Guidelines are not the same as standards. Guidelines will depend on the needs of the solution and there are no guidelines for the situation you describe.

There will only be guidelines for Radio buttons, e.g. If there is a obvious default value then make this radio button selected when the page renders.

As for the best solution, well that depends on the a number of factors, e.g.

  • Frequency - how often do the users select Other?
  • Speed - is it important for the user to complete this quickly?

One of the constraint of radio buttons is you cannot deselect them all once one is set.

However, radio buttons seems like the obvious choice, i.e you have a list of values and one of those values is a trigger to progressively reveal an edit box to allow you type a new question. The one extra mouse-click is not likely to cause any problems for the user, but you can only be certain of that if you perform some usability testing.

  • I'd say the users will select 'other' or 'option not listed' around 20% of the time. Speed is fairly important. But most important is making sure it's simple to use and intuitive. – user2424495 Jun 15 '16 at 10:06
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    Adding just one more click is not a bad thing. It will still be simple and intuitive. Do not get fixated on mouse-clicks as a metric for simple to use and intuitive. – SteveD Jun 15 '16 at 10:10
  • @Splatz applause for the "do not get fixated on mouse clicks" comment – maxathousand Jun 15 '16 at 14:33
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    I'd also say that radio buttons are better because they provide an obvious way to undo the action. If I select "Other" with a button, I would try to look for another button to undo that selection. With radio buttons, there's no question of how I change my selection. – maxathousand Jun 15 '16 at 14:36
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I would make all the responses buttons, including "Option not listed", which when selected opens a text input and makes the text input area active. That way, you have consistency in your view and the same number of steps that would be needed if you had a text input area.

So when selecting the "Option not listed" response, the actions are: select; type; and return.

  • That makes sense, but there are then more clicks for the user if they select 'option not listed'. Bus as I comment above it won't be used as much so that could work. – user2424495 Jun 15 '16 at 10:04
  • @user2424495 How are there more clicks? – JohnGB Jun 15 '16 at 10:11
  • @JohnGB Are there not more clicks if the use selects 'option not listed' because they need to click to open the text input, then click 'next'. If they text input is always viewable (as in my bottom example) - there is one less click. Admittedly, at the sake of consistency. – user2424495 Jun 15 '16 at 10:15
  • @JohnGB thanks for the clarification. If all the responses are buttons, what are you expecting to happen when you click? (I am not talking about the button marked Other)? Surely the user goal is to select something, while a button is for triggering something? – SteveD Jun 15 '16 at 10:16
  • @Splatz I am expecting that by selecting one of the buttons, the users selection will be saved and they will be taken to the next question. – user2424495 Jun 15 '16 at 10:28

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