Checkbox vs Multiple Select

Which one is better of accessibility or most highly recommended in this situation?

You have a literature request form where the user can select the different brochures they want.

Do you have a big list of checkboxes or one list box?

the checkboxes without a doubt

Checkboxes. Almost everyone has to add a blurb like “use your CTRL key to make multiple selections” when using a select-multiple, because otherwise nobody would ever think to make more than one choice. Checkboxes are more intuitive.

Checkboxes are much better!

But checkboxes are such a PITA if you want to select consecutive parts of the list. But I also agree with what was said here already.

Ok, Staying a Checkboxes I quess.

Thanks guys


there is currently no way to select non-consecutive options in a multiple select via the keyboard, so it’s fundamentally inaccessible; additionally, the expected behaviour of a dropdown in any other situation (not just on the web, but applications/OS as well) is to allow the user to select a single option out of a list, so it’s counter-intuitive and therefore sports bad usability.

in short, multiple checkboxes, hands down.

Multiple checkboxes grouped together with a “Select all in this group” checkbox for a compromise.

And maybe an “Invert selection” for good measure.

I’d go for checkboxes too. even if a lot of things will probably be checked, you should use checkboxes, but then simply check them by default.


Checkboxes is best for ordinary users.

Multiple selection boxes on the other hand are way better for admin systems or web software where the users will be expected to learn how to use it. That way they can take advantage of the shortcut keys like Ctrl and Shift.

I asked myself this question last week. I had to either use one or the other to list 26 options. Even though the checkboxes required much more space on the page, I still prefer them.

I completely agree with Vinnie, checkboxes would be my definate choice.

Checkboxes with “clickable” labels! God how annoying it is when they’re not!

Let me be the first to say Checkboxes!


If it’s really a large list (more than 10 choices) then separate and format the lists by category - and follow Brownstone’s note about select all (use a radio button so that it selects and de-selects)l

Products - ( ) select all

Services - ( ) select all

Porn - ( ) select all

I’d say that checkboxes are all together easier to use and more accessible.


I wonder if you would be able to code something in javascript similar to windows desktop where you can click and drag your cusor and select multiple items on your desktop…

(Mac may have it too, but I don’t have much experience with them)

Hold down CTRL while moving, and SPACE to select. Well, in Firefox at least…

Correct. Sometimes a multiple select box will work better than checkboxes

ah, interesting - surprised it’s not documented, even in the help files. and it still remains inaccessible in other browsers. :frowning: