I’ve gotten a ton of mails about my bad ideas post.
The bad news is that almost every letter writer misses my point. They want to have an argument about whether pull downs for states is a good idea.
Let’s say that there were no pull downs for states. And then let’s say someone invented it. Would everyone immediately adopt it because it’s so much better? Of course not. The reason it’s being defended is because of the status quo.
To save myself some typing, here are the reasons, if you insist, on why pull downs for states are silly:
1. No, you can’t just type the first letter of the state, at least not in Firefox on the Mac. And hey, a state is just two letters, so who exactly is being helped here?
2. If you really want to use computer power to help me, have me type in my zip code. Then the computer should look up the city AND the state and save me 10 or fifteen letters!
3. the pull down, even if it’s better, which it’s not, causes me to switch from one mode (type and tab) to another mode (arrows and mouse.) All for two letters.
4. there is no #4.
5. The biggest reason of all: half or more of all shoppping carts online are abandoned. If this happened at the supermarket, they’d be bankrupt in less than a week. This is a crisis for anyone who sells online (except for Amazon, which doesn’t have this problem–because people don’t have to see any of this nonsense.) instead of Dilbertly defending the engineering status quo, teams should be working around the clock to test every single thing they can to fix the problem.