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Menu Checkbox Trio

Let's suppose you've got an application.

The application has a search box that you use to search several collections of things below. The search is more of a filter that narrows down the results below from "all" to "whatever matches."

In addition to showing you recent searches in the search menu, the application also allows you to choose any combination of A, B, or C as the filter targets. If A and B are selected, their listings are filtered while C is left unfiltered. What's being filtered is shown, like the Safari search box for destination search engine, with a checkbox. The only difference is that Safari treats the selection like a radio button (one at a time) while this application acts like a checkbox (any 1, 2, or 3).

The question is this: if the user has only "A" checked, what do you do if they choose "A" to uncheck it?

The user always needs to search something, otherwise search does nothing.

The best we've come up with is to disable the menu item that's checked when only one is checked. That way the user will be unable to put themselves into a "broken" state. It still requires the same number of clicks to switch from "B" to "A" but it forces them to check B before they can uncheck A.

2 Responses to "Menu Checkbox Trio"

  1. Check out safari's search field. It just ignores the click if it's the checked item.

  2. Brad Miller said on September 11, 2010:

    Check out safari's search field. It just ignores the click if it's the checked item.

    As I said, Safari treats them like radio buttons, not checkboxes. Different use case.


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