At this time there’s only a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUkMCQR4TpY but I’m assuming/hoping that there’s a transcript coming soon somewhere.
In the video, a front-ender for gov.uk explains how user research showed multiple problems with the plain old selects… since this set of websites must specifically reach people with poor computer skils, older browsers and special needs, not savvy developers with the latest blink nightly.
And while I get the feeling that a lot of developers expect that savvy blink-nightly users are at least a large part of their userbase, if not the majority, I wonder if more research would set this straight?
Anyway the main issues these users had with select dropdowns:
- people were unable to close the select
- people tried to type into them
- people didn’t realise that focussed selects are not the same as selected selects
- people trying to pinch and zoom (on phones and tablets) were unable to enlarge the dropdown’s lists, meaning for a portion of the userbase, these options were unreadable (remember a lot of people who really could benefit from using a screen reader or a screen magnifier often don’t know these things exist and rely on things like setting the screen resolution very low and sitting centimeters away from the screen).
The speaker shows examples of possible substitutions, and shows an example where some kind of dropdown still makes the best UX sense. However for example one possibility she mentions is a slider… watch the comments at the end as well, where she answers a question about using sliders. They may not be appropriate.
She also talks about a particular government office branch with security clearance levels, where each morning users download Firefox if they want to use it, because each night, everything installed by users is wiped by the system. Woo!
Anyway, interesting talk, interesting data. If I find a transcript I will post it.