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Too many options for a standard select element

I work on an product that sometimes needs to manage pretty huge amounts of data. Often times the user needs to select something when they may not know exactly what they're looking for and there are a lot of options available. A gigantic select box has been deemed unscalable/annoying... however when we move to something like AutoComplete people complain when they don't know what exactly they're looking for (don't know what to type get desired results).

What we're currently looking at is to have an AutoComplete which will drop down on focus (before anything is even typed in) with a limited amount of results; the user can then start typing if they know what they're looking for... and if they don't then they can click something ("show all") to retrieve the full list which they will then need to scroll through. Does anyone have any other suggestions/examples?

Thanks a lot,
BH

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  • QUOTE (blholub @ Sep 17 2008, 10:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    I work on an product that sometimes needs to manage pretty huge amounts of data. Often times the user needs to select something when they may not know exactly what they're looking for and there are a lot of options available. A gigantic select box has been deemed unscalable/annoying... however when we move to something like AutoComplete people complain when they don't know what exactly they're looking for (don't know what to type get desired results).

    What we're currently looking at is to have an AutoComplete which will drop down on focus (before anything is even typed in) with a limited amount of results; the user can then start typing if they know what they're looking for... and if they don't then they can click something ("show all") to retrieve the full list which they will then need to scroll through. Does anyone have any other suggestions/examples?


    That's an interesting idea. Sort of a mix of a controlled list with the ability for free-form entry as well? Not sure I've ever seen that in the wild but there's no reason to think why that wouldn't work.
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