Interestingly the Robert Hoekman Jr example I cited started originally
as a paper form. In his write up when the form was first put up online
before he came along it ran to page after page, resulting in people
never completing it!

In your example the first thing that strikes me, but this could be a
can of worms (based on your observation about asking a non-English
speaker to advise "What language?" when they might not be able to
understand even that) is either links in the available languages to
the same form in those languages, or at least to a page in the
selected language with information about what to do next - even though
that might mean calling a help line instead, or lastly the form begins
with say language Flag Icons and if someone chooses anything other
than English off to the alternate page or form. That action becomes
your Yes or No scenario.

There was a visitor from the W3C who spoke to the WSG in Melbourne
some time ago now called Richard Ishida who is all about
internationalisation on the web. More links;

John Unsworth

On 4 June 2010 14:41, nedlud <> wrote:
> Hmm.
> I hadn't considered the wording of the actual question to be so important.
> But I can sure see your point.
> The full questions in the form is "Do you require an interpreter?"
> This is followed by: "If so, what language?"
> I am porting a paper based for onto the web, and the paper based version has
> explicit check boxes for "yes" and "no". But it occurred to me that on the
> web, I could reduce the two check boxes down to one. "Tick the box if you
> require an interpreter." Then dynamically insert the "what language"
> question if they answer yes. (Yes, an obvious problem with all this is that
> the form is all written in English. I guess the client is assuming an
> English speaker is helping the Non-English speaker with the form).
> I often look for the simplest way to represent thing, an in this case, a
> single check box can easily represent both the "yes" and "no" states
> (checked or not checked). But is this the best UX? Are people more
> comfortable with explicit yes/no choices? Even when it might be more verbose
> than absolutely necessary?
> Lucien.
> On 4 June 2010 13:29, John Unsworth <> wrote:
>> Hi Lucien,
>> The first thing that occurs to me regarding the semantics of the
>> action is what is the Yes/No proposition in regards to, and that this
>> might provide a clearer notion as to what to do.
>> By this what I mean is, in the first instance so far as semantic mark
>> up is concerned it would appear that a radio button is exactly what
>> you would use. Here it is a case of either on or off. Yes or no.
>> However the first thing I thought of, and I suppose this is in more
>> regards a UI/UX consideration is the design pattern we see with
>> webmail clients and the "Remember me" check box.
>> So returning to the first point, are you simply asking for a Yes/No
>> action or like the "Remember me" function a call to action with an
>> Option Yes or Option No result? In which case your question might be
>> rephrased by improving the microcopy of your markup. Instead of "Do
>> you..?" the semantics are improved by fixing the proposition, ie;
>> "Remember me for 2 weeks" - tick on = Yes, un-ticked = No, or another
>> example, rather than "Would you like to receive our email newsletter?"
>> radio buttons Yes/No, checkbox pre-selected followed by "Uncheck if
>> you would not like to receive our email newsletter."
>> In addition to my thoughts I had a look into the Robert Hoekman Jr
>> book "Designing the Obvious" and in Chapter 16 about Simplifying Long
>> Forms he cites an example that begins with a series of Yes/No
>> propositions that given further consideration can be better addressed
>> by better directed questions and ultimately checkboxes. If you have a
>> Safari Books Online account you can access this book, or at the least
>> here is a link to his presentation at Web Directions in 2008;
>> which
>> contains links to his book on Amazon and an introduction to his
>> approach.
>> But I'll try and quickly summarise it for you. Original form starts -
>> "Do you...have any Group Medical, Dental or Vision coverage..with Acme
>> Insurance" = Radio Button Yes/No.
>> Second iteration - "Do you...have any Group Medical, Dental or Vision
>> coverage..with Acme Insurance" = Radio Button Yes, then checkbox's for
>> Medical, Dental, Vision - Radio Button No.
>> Third iteration - Do you...have any Group Medical, Dental or Vision
>> coverage..with Acme Insurance" = checkbox's for Medical, Dental,
>> Vision - implied is if you don't check any, you would of selected No.
>> So to sum up, before it's a question of which is the best markup to
>> use, what is the actual end result of this action and can it be
>> handled a better way?
>> Cheers,
>> John Unsworth
>> On 4 June 2010 12:29, nedlud <> wrote:
>> > I have a web form I'm building and there is a simple yes/no question in
>> > it.
>> > I got to wondering what the best semantic  mark up for this is? Does
>> > anyone
>> > have any good UI/UX suggestions?
>> > My three ideas were...
>> > Two radio buttons for "yes" and "no"...
>> > <p>Do you...?</p>
>> > <label for="ans-yes">Yes</label><input type="radio" name="ans"
>> > id="ans-yes">
>> > <label for="ans-no">No</label><input type="radio" name="ans"
>> > id="ans-no">
>> > A single check box. A tick implies a "yes" answer while no tick implies
>> > "no"...
>> > <p>Do you...?</p>
>> > <input type="checkbox" name="ans" id="ans">
>> > Or a selection list with a "yes" and a "no" answer...
>> > <p>Do you...?</p>
>> > <select name="ans" id="ans">
>> >    <option value="yes">Yes</option>
>> >    <option value="no">No</option>
>> > </select>
>> > Which is the preferred way? Or can you suggest a better way?
>> > Lucien.
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