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Alternative to a combo box

    Question

  • I've encountered a problem in a application that I inherited. It contains a combo box that loads information.

    The problem is that there are more data that the control will hold (32767)

    does anyone know of an better control that will hold large amounts of data that I can use?


    VC Swindell
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 5:40 PM

Answers

  • I know you probably don't want to hear this, but 32000+ drop down items for the user to pick from  should be considered a detriment to the design and could be seen as a signal that you may need to re-think that design.  Though we are rarely given hard-set rules in UI design there are many unwritten guidelines that are formed by tried and tested real-world experiences.  A superfluous amount of items in a drop down definitely falls in that category.  Even with auto-suggest on (which I hope is why you are considering this option to begin with) this could be inefficient for the user.  Ask yourself this:  is there any use case where the user may not know the starting characters of the thing to look up?  If no, will all users use be savvy enough to find their value by typing instead of dropping down?  If that's the case then maybe a auto-suggest textbox would be a better choice, because any chance of finding a value among tens of thousands of items is a UI faux-pas and may sour users to your app.

    I'm sure you have what you believe to be very solid reasons for going this route, but maybe it wouldn't hurt to ask if there is potentially a better way to implement this feature.  At worst you could still stick with what you have :)

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 7:36 PM

All replies

  • Sounds like you are using VB6 as the WinForms combobox in .NET allow for many more items than the VB6 integer limit.

    This forum is for the .NET versions of VB only.


    Matt Kleinwaks - MSMVP MSDN Forums Moderator - www.zerosandtheone.com
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 5:57 PM
    Moderator
  • I know you probably don't want to hear this, but 32000+ drop down items for the user to pick from  should be considered a detriment to the design and could be seen as a signal that you may need to re-think that design.  Though we are rarely given hard-set rules in UI design there are many unwritten guidelines that are formed by tried and tested real-world experiences.  A superfluous amount of items in a drop down definitely falls in that category.  Even with auto-suggest on (which I hope is why you are considering this option to begin with) this could be inefficient for the user.  Ask yourself this:  is there any use case where the user may not know the starting characters of the thing to look up?  If no, will all users use be savvy enough to find their value by typing instead of dropping down?  If that's the case then maybe a auto-suggest textbox would be a better choice, because any chance of finding a value among tens of thousands of items is a UI faux-pas and may sour users to your app.

    I'm sure you have what you believe to be very solid reasons for going this route, but maybe it wouldn't hurt to ask if there is potentially a better way to implement this feature.  At worst you could still stick with what you have :)

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 7:36 PM