radio vs drop drown

As you’re busy building your web form, it can be easy to get caught up in the design. And don’t get me wrong; that’s incredibly important. It’s no mystery that people trust clean, beautiful design over a cluttered, thrown-together look.

But when was the last time you stepped back and REALLY examined the details of your form? After all, the smallest things can sometimes make the biggest difference.

Take your standard multiple-choice list field. This may seem like a small, seemingly irrelevant detail, right?

Well, a bad list can hurt your conversion rate.

Check out this list of reasons why you should trade your drop-down list for radio buttons:

Radio buttons improve form conversions

What if I told you that replacing your drop-down list with radio buttons would likely improve your website’s conversion rate?

You’d probably say something to the effect of, “What, my drop-down list? You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

But don’t just take my word for it. MECLABS tested this out and found that conversions increased by a whopping 15%.

Radio buttons save time

Do your visitors a favor: Make sure your forms are straightforward, fast, and easy to use. The less your visitor needs to click, the better.

With radio buttons, all options are visible. Visitors can easily find and select their desired answer — then move on to the next question. In other words, radio buttons simplify the process by cutting out that extra step.

See for yourself. Which one do you feel is more straightforward?

This radio list:

radio buttons html

…or the drop-down list below?

drop-down list

Yep, drop-down lists require an extra step. And extra steps add up.

Not everyone has time for that.

In other words, drop-down lists aren’t exactly best for those who are in a hurry. And if you’re not catering to these people, you’re missing out on conversions.

I know what you’re thinking: “Well, drop-down lists don’t take THAT much longer.”

Sure, drop-down lists don’t take an eternity — but if a visitor can wrap up their experience more quickly, why deny them that luxury? Every second counts.

You can also replace a drop-down list with a selection list to speed things up:

selection list

When to use a drop-down list

Yes, there IS a time and place for the drop-down list. For example, if a user needed to select their state or country, radio buttons wouldn’t make much sense. If your visitor is presented with a huge amount of radio buttons, it’ll surely confuse and annoy them.

And we don’t want that. We want our visitors to be content.

So, if you’re dealing with 7+ options, radio buttons aren’t the best choice. They take far too much time to sort through. In these cases, it’s absolutely OK to use a drop-down list.

What do you think of radio buttons? Let us know in the comments!

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Hannah lives in Alaska and is a Digital Marketing Specialist at FormAssembly. She enjoys hiking mountains with her husband and reading.

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