A select component allows users to choose one option from a temporary modal menu.
When to use the select component
- Use sparingly. Use the select component only when a user needs to choose from about seven to 15 possible options and you have limited space to display the options.
When to consider something else
- Fewer than seven options. Use radio buttons instead.
- More than 15 options. If the list of options is very long, consider using a combo box.
- Multi-select. If you need to allow users to choose more than one option at once. Users often don’t understand how to choose multiple items from select elements. Use checkboxes instead.
- Site navigation. Use the navigation components instead.
- Make sure to test. Test select menus thoroughly with members of your target audience. Several usability experts suggest they should be the “UI of last resort.” Many users find them confusing and difficult to use.
- Avoid dependent options. Avoid making options in one select menu change based on the input to another. Users often don’t understand how choosing an item in one impacts another.
- Use a good default. When most users will (or should) pick a particular option, make it the default:
- Customize form controls accessibly. If you customize this component, ensure that it continues to meet the accessibility requirements that apply to all form controls.
- Always use a label. Make sure your select element has a label. Don’t replace it with the default menu option (for example, removing the “State” label and just having the menu read “Select a state” by default).