Maximum number of choices for select_one? External source possible?

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11-01-2016 08:55 PM
DirkVandervoort
Occasional Contributor II

Putting aside the discussion of degrading the user experience by allowing hundreds of choices on a phone in a select_one, is there a limit to the number of choices a survey designer can add?

Along the same lines, is it possible to have the data source for a select_one be in external csv file? I see you can do that for cascading selects...

But let's just say - for the sake of discussion - I want my users to select one from a couple of hundred choices (e.g., utiliity poles). Good? Bad? Or just plain ugly?

TIA

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IsmaelChivite
Esri Frequent Contributor

Hi! You can handle a few thousand choices in your lists, even in low-end devices. Here are a few tips:

  • The minimal appearance will render long lists significantly faster than using the default or horizontal appearances. Using the minimal appearance choices will only be displayed when the user activates the drop-down list.  In general, it is a good idea to turn on minimal appearance when your list of choices is larger than 10 or 12 choices; more than  for performance reasons, to make the form easier to use.
  • I like using the autocomplete appearance in select_one questions when working with very large lists of choices. It dramatically simplifies the end-user experience and also helps quite a bit in terms of performance. If a list of choices has more than 30 or 40 choices, auto-suggest is typically a good idea. Again, helps with performance and usability.
  • When handling several hundred or thousands of choices, I think you  should seriously consider external_selects and cascading selects.  A cascading select allows you to concatenate two or more select_one questions, so the choices  showed in one are a determined by the previous.  Think for example Country, State, Region/County... You want to let the user choose the Country, then the States within that Country and finally the Region/County. That way you can handle thousands of Region/Counties.  When working with cascading selects with more than 300 choices, I strongly recommend combining them with external selects. An external select is just another way to encode your lists, which is  much more efficient than through the choices worksheet. There are more details about this here.

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10 Replies
IsmaelChivite
Esri Frequent Contributor

Hi! You can handle a few thousand choices in your lists, even in low-end devices. Here are a few tips:

  • The minimal appearance will render long lists significantly faster than using the default or horizontal appearances. Using the minimal appearance choices will only be displayed when the user activates the drop-down list.  In general, it is a good idea to turn on minimal appearance when your list of choices is larger than 10 or 12 choices; more than  for performance reasons, to make the form easier to use.
  • I like using the autocomplete appearance in select_one questions when working with very large lists of choices. It dramatically simplifies the end-user experience and also helps quite a bit in terms of performance. If a list of choices has more than 30 or 40 choices, auto-suggest is typically a good idea. Again, helps with performance and usability.
  • When handling several hundred or thousands of choices, I think you  should seriously consider external_selects and cascading selects.  A cascading select allows you to concatenate two or more select_one questions, so the choices  showed in one are a determined by the previous.  Think for example Country, State, Region/County... You want to let the user choose the Country, then the States within that Country and finally the Region/County. That way you can handle thousands of Region/Counties.  When working with cascading selects with more than 300 choices, I strongly recommend combining them with external selects. An external select is just another way to encode your lists, which is  much more efficient than through the choices worksheet. There are more details about this here.

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DirkVandervoort
Occasional Contributor II

Thanks Ismael!

I'm confused. auto-suggest is not an option that's available on the release of Survey123Connect (most current release so far as I know).

BTWI created a choice list with 200 values and set the appearance to minimal and the results were acceptable. 

What happens if I change values in the choice list and republish the survey with no other changes? Will the inspectors only have to download the new survey and they're good to go? The existing survey data won't get affected?

Thanks!

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JamesTedrick
Esri Esteemed Contributor

The proper appearance name for is autocomplete

If the only modification is the list of choices, the existing survey data won't be affected and your inspectors will only need to download the new form.  

If you are using ArcGIS Tools to work with the survey results, be aware that there are some issues with subsequent changes to select lists- those values are stored as domains in the feature service on initial publish and are not updated when modified.  Publish your survey—Survey123 for ArcGIS | ArcGIS 

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JevitaWebster
New Contributor III

i have a inventory list of over 2000 choices. I want to use a "Select_One" field type for this inventory list. When I added the 2843 items to my choices tag and save the spreadsheet Survey123 crashes. Then I created a external_choice tag and added the items here and used a external_select but i couldn't seem to get that to work.  Im sure im doing something wrong. 

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JamesTedrick
Esri Esteemed Contributor

Hi Jevita,

Can you share the XLS file?

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JevitaWebster
New Contributor III

yes i can, but how?

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JamesTedrick
Esri Esteemed Contributor

You can either email it to me directly (jtedrick At esri.com) or attach it via the 'advanced editor' to a GeoNet post.

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JevitaWebster
New Contributor III

OK i just sent it, i got it working now. 

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MelissaGrove1
New Contributor III

Jevita Webster‌ and James Tedrick‌, 

We are having this same issue except we are trying to use a scientific name selection list with 15,000 choices. How were you able to get this to work and/or is there a known choices limitation? 

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