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13:18 Display Default Values

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13:18 Display Default Values

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 3 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 2 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Controls and Widgets


Display default values whenever a likely default choice can be defined.


When likely default values can be defined, offer those values to speed data entry. The initial or default item could be the most frequently selected item or the last item selected by that user. In general, do not use the default position to display a heading or label for that widget.


  • Ahlstrom, V. & Longo, K. (2001). Human factors design guide update (Report number DOT/FAA/CT-96/01): A revision to chapter 8 - computer human interface guidelines. Retrieved November 2005, from
  • Bailey, R.W. (1996). Human performance engineering: Designing high quality professional user interfaces for computer products, applications and systems (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Fowler, S. (1998). GUI Design Handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Marcus, A., Smilonich, N., & Thompson, L. (1995). The Cross-GUI Handbook. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
  • Smith, S.L. & Mosier, J.N. (1986, August). Guidelines for designing user interface software. The MITRE Corporation Technical Report (ESD-TR-86-278).

Good Example:

In this example, one adult usually stays in a single room.


In this example, the most common number of products ordered is one.