The questions revolve around the special item at the top of the list, which we call the dropdown title. It is present to encourage the user to make a selection. With Orbeon Forms 4.4 and earlier, we simply had a rather imperative “[Select…]” title.
So what title should we show, and when? There are different possibilities. For example:
- When the control value is optional, we could show a different title, because in that case we shouldn’t tell the user too imperatively to enter data.
- We could leave a blank title in both required and optional cases.
Here is how the dropdowns look when you open them:
Now when a value is required and a choice is selected, you can argue that there is no point showing “Please select:” to the user anymore, as the user shouldn’t go back to a point where no value is selected. Here we could:
- entirely remove the title
- show a blank title
So it’s subtle and there might not be a “one size fits all” solution. For now, we have elected to blank the title when a value is selected even in the required case:
Of course, when the selection is optional, then it makes sense to have a blank title to deselect the choice.
In addition, we have now internationalized the title, something we had apparently overlooked for a long time (of course, Form Builder has allowed you to internationalize choices since the beginning).
We noticed that in review and PDF modes, we showed the good old “[Select…]” title in the absence of a selection, which was not very useful! It is better to show an empty field, which also allows users who print forms on paper to fill in a value:
Finally, instead of being hardcoded this is now entirely implemented in a simple XBL component which is quite easy to adapt.
These improvements will be available in Orbeon Forms 4.5.
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