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Chapter 8. Editing and Manipulation: Usi... > Input Controls: Picking the Right To...

Input Controls: Picking the Right Tool for the Job

Like any design medium, mastery of Web design in general and form design in particular requires a solid understanding of the available materials. In this case, that means understanding the input controls available in HTML. Although the vocabulary of radio buttons, check boxes, menus, text boxes, and list boxes might seem limited and simple, there are many subtle and not-so-subtle aspects of each control. The following sections explore each control in detail, including examples of their proper use.

Check Boxes

As in the printed forms from which they are derived, check boxes indicate whether an item is selected. Although they often appear in groups, check boxes do not necessarily have any relationship to one another. Correctly used, the options that check boxes present are independent choices that do not affect any other options on the form. The one exception is when a check box is nested with other input controls to indicate an explicit master-slave relationship. This style of nesting is used when an option has associated “sub-options.” For example, an email application could have an option to check for spelling errors before sending a message. If the user selected the spell check option, there could be additional options to indicate which language to use, whether to ignore Internet addresses, and so forth.


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