Friday, 16 March 2007

Funny Web form: how NOT to use radio buttons!

Check out this form from

HTML forms can have checkboxes or radio buttons, dropdown lists, etc. With a radio button you only get to pick one of several options - they're mutually exclusive. But with checkboxes you could choose more than one of several options, if you wish.

The answers to the "majority of ownership" question in the above Webform are in the form of radio buttons. So, yep, you guessed it - you can only choose one answer. If you're "Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic", well then you can't be female. Or disabled. And if you're a woman, you can't possibly be minority ethnic or disabled. Etc.

Very PC if the majority of a business is owned by, say, disabled Asian women, innit (not). Wonder if anyone's ever bothered to complain about being made to pigeonhole themselves into a "minority" in this particular way!

From the way they've put things on the form, it does seem that the use of radio buttons instead of checkboxes is deliberate, rather than a usability boo boo.

Perhaps it's a profound attempt by Own-it to get the person filling in the form to stop and consider in depth the nature and make-up of their identity, and what aspect of their identity is the most important to them - their ethnicity or their gender, etc. Force 'em to pick their exact "minority group". Make 'em philosophise about their identity. Adds another dimension to the tedium of completing yet another webform, y'know.

Or perhaps it isn't...


Vinny said...

I'm trying to wrap my mind around the idea that the majority is a minority. If you put majority and minority in the same sentence, you are just asking for trouble.

Disabled Asian Women- I laughed aloud, guiltily.

ilker said...

Funny but sad.. what a shame!

Improbulus said...

Thanks for the comments. Trouble is right, Vinny!

It's funny but of course the serious point I was trying to make is that (say) Asian women might well find that kind of form annoying, to say the least.