If your dropdown menu has more than seven choices, it's useless

Which dropdown menu am I referring to? Any of them.

The paradox of choice is that the more choices we are given, the less likely we are to decide. When your customer is presented with a dropdown menu that has dozens of choices, she is unlikely to scan through all the choices available and will either choose nothing or choose something that isn’t really appropriate.

For example, if on your name prefix dropdown menu you offer 20 choices (I’ve seen this with my clients!), most customers will choose the prefix that is closest (e.g,. if they are a Monsignor and come across Mr. first, they may just choose that to be done with it all!).

So when you’re setting up a dropdown menu in your database, keep in mind that less is better. If you can keep it to seven choice or fewer, you’ll be in good shape.

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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