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The last version of Internet Explorer, version 11, was released on October 17, 2013. This is a very long time ago when taking into account the rapid development of web technologies. These days it is often difficult and time consuming to get modern technologies to work well in this old browser. More and more frameworks are dropping support, and even Microsoft themselves has announced that they will fully drop support for IE in their own services in 2021.

Consequently, we have decided to not include support for IE in the Design Library website.

Luckily, there are modern options in active development. Please use Firefox, Edge or Chrome instead.

Dropdown

A dropdown allows the user to select one or several options from a list. Great to use when there are many fixed choices and you have limited space.

Dropdown

Guidelines

Short description

Standard dropdown

The standard dropdown allows a user to select one value from a series of options.

Multi-select

Dropdown Multi-select allows multiple selection and is commonly used in forms and filters.

  • “Search” is optional and could be used when there are a long list of options.
  • “Select all” in the search result view is also optional and should only be used if there is a good use case.

Select versus Dropdown

Same but different

The select and dropdown components can look similar, but they have different functionality and use cases:

  • The select component presents a list of values where users can select one option. It’s preferred to be used in forms that will be submitted.
  • The dropdown component presents a list of values where users can select one or more options. Dropdowns can be used outside of forms to take an action or sort content. A dropdown’s list-box items have custom styling and can contain custom content such as icons or badges.

A key difference between the components is the underlying code for the components. The select component is based on the native select HTML Element thus making the appearance of the component being determined by the browser, the dropdown component can be styled as needed.

Select

Select

Dropdown

Dropdown

Behaviour

Sorting

Sort the list by placing the most important or common choices in the top. If there is no internal order, sort alphabetically or numerically.

If the list is sorted alphabetically and very long, the most common choice can be at the top. For instance, when a user is asked to choose nationality.

Width

The expanded list with options is generally the same width as the dropdown. Follow the grid when deciding the width of the dropdown. If content in the list of options is wider than the dropdown, the list will increase in width.

Do's and don'ts

Do
  • Have the label visible when the dropdown is open. Labels provide scope and direction by reminding users what they are choosing. 
  • A default option can be used if it is very likely that users will select that option.
  • Use dropdown if you have more than 3 options. If less than 3 options, use checkboxes, radiobuttons or toggle selector instead.
Don't
  • Don't use dropdowns for data that is highly familiar to your users. Users are most likely faster when typing in familiar data than to select the option in a dropdown.
  • Try to avoid very long lists that require scrolling.

 

Writing

Multiple selections

If the user can choose several values in a dropdown, it is preferable that this is indicated in the label.

Concise values

The values in the dropdown must be as short and self-evident as possible.

Placeholder

When there is no default option in a dropdown, the first value (which can’t be chosen) should give information about what the user is supposed to choose, for example Choose type of employment. In these cases, we also need an error message, in case the user tries to proceed without choosing an option.

Upper and lower case

Don’t start each word in headings and labels with upper case. Only use upper case in:

  • The first letter of the first word
  • The first letter of proper names
  • Abbreviations

 

Accessibility

-

 

Specification

 

Light mode

Light mode

Dark mode

Dark mode

 

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