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Re: width of dropdowns

From: Jaz-Michael King <JMKing@ipro.org>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 11:49:45 -0500
Message-ID: <sfbb5902.010@mail.ipro.org>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Hiya Julie

I'm not sure why you say the site is fixed at 800 pixels
 wide to avoid horizontal scrolling. Maybe I'm missing something,
 but you should be aware that there are millions of displays out
 there that are less than 800 pixels wide. Also don't forget that
 users with displays set at 800 pixels wide may not have their
 browser fully maximised to use their entire window space.

As for drop-down menus, you could consider placing radio
 buttons in your form instead. Then, you could use the full
 data field in both English and Welsh as the form data, and
 place a cut-off or even full text caption next to it. This would
 allow the text to wrap onto the next line at the right-hand
 edge of the browser window.

Use of the ellipsis would be a good idea if you decide to
 truncate the text placed after the radio button. You could
 have your server-side script truncate the English at one set
 number of characters, and the Welsh at another. You'd
 probably want more in the Welsh version anyway. 

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerych... :o)

I would suggest that the "user-friendly" limit of characters is
 based on your content and not an arbitrary rule. It all
 depends on context.

Finally, you could also consider returing the address data in
 table format. Imagine a data table with several columns.
 The first column would contain the relevant radio button,
 the second column the street address, the third column the
 town, fourth for county, fifth for post code.

That would make it less likely to rely entirely on the last part of
 the address, would format your data nicely, and provide your
 readers an easier method to scan the addresses.

I couldn't tell if you are intending on returning English and 
Welsh addresses simultaneously, or as a separate option i.e.
 Welsh only or English only.

Hwyl fawr


hi all,

i'd really appreciate your opinions on what the best option would be for my
situation both usability and

background on the site:  
- designed to 800x600 (client extremely opposed to
horizontal scrolling (as am i for the most part)
- no javascript
- templatised
- in both english and welsh

on some pages the site will return data to the user in the form of
dropdowns.  the width of the dropdowns is
dependent on the number of characters in the lines(the lines are addresses
and one of them may only be 20
characters long, but another one may be 400 characters long and that would
dictate the overal width).

i am thinking i have the following options:

1.) allow for the full address to be displayed (so
that the user may have to scroll horizontally, but at
least none of them are ambiguous).

2.) implement three dots (...) after a certain number
of characters.

i would be interested in hearing other options if you
have any.

i am currently leaning towards option 1 because the option 2 would be
difficult to impose because i am not
sure what a 'user-friendly' length is for addresses to be cut off at and
doubt this would be the same in
english as it is in welsh (could rules be different for the languages and if
so, does anyone know when it
would be user-friendly to implement (...) to an address in english and in

also - i'm guessing there would be issues with screen readers.  would the
screen reader read 'dot, dot, dot'
or sthg like that?

also, because of the ambiguity, it is easy for the user to chose an
incorrect address (especially because
postcodes appear at the end of the address) which could mean a vicious
circle of errors. 

so, can anyone think of any other options?

thanks very much in advance,


Jaz-Michael King
Senior Manager, Online Services
IPRO - http://www.ipro.org
Received on Wednesday, 19 November 2003 11:52:39 UTC

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