[development] APC and Web Networks Release Drupal Usability Report

inkfree press inkfree at gmail.com
Wed Sep 13 03:10:24 UTC 2006

"Neil Drumm" wrote:

> From the report: "Binary options should use two radio buttons, one for each of
> the states."
> From Nielson's Alertbox: "A stand-alone checkbox is used for a single option
> that the user can turn on or off"
> (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040927.html).

These are distinct interface (and logical, more precisely) elements.

The first you reference is a 'binary' object group. That is, it is an object
that has only 2 states (represented by the buttons in the group), but one of
the states is required.

The second logical element, the checkbox, is a 2-state object which may be

Often, but not always, 'valueless' is logically equivalent to some other
value (say, zero).

Therefore, the UI principle to consider to distinguish the two interface
elements is:

    radio button -- when a value is required to be provided

    checkbox -- when a value is able to be toggled (to the 'no value' state)

Again, often but not always logically equivalent.


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