What HTML form input must be used to present multiple options, but select only one?

Understanding HTML Radio Input Type for Form Selections

Selecting an option out of multiple choices is a common feature required in many web forms. The HTML <input type="radio"> field is the perfect solution, offering a way to present multiple options to a user yet only allowing them to select one.

An HTML form with the <input type="radio"> type creates a radio button that the user can click, essentially highlighting their single selection amongst an array of choices. Each radio button in a group is defined by the use of a similar 'name' attribute. This grouping ensures that only one button can be selected at once.

Practical Application and Example

Imagine creating a survey form asking users to rate their customer experience as Poor, Average, or Excellent. This would require a selection from multiple options but only one selection is allowed.

  <input type="radio" id="poor" name="rating" value="poor">
  <label for="poor">Poor</label><br>
  <input type="radio" id="average" name="rating" value="average">
  <label for="average">Average</label><br>
  <input type="radio" id="excellent" name="rating" value="excellent">
  <label for="excellent">Excellent</label>

In this case, the name attribute for each radio input is "rating", meaning they're all part of the same group. Selecting one option automatically deselects any previously chosen option within this group.

Best Practices for Using Radio Buttons

While using the <input type="radio"> is straightforward enough, following certain best practices can help enhance user experience:

  1. Always Label Buttons: Using labels not only makes forms accessible but also increases the clickable area, enhancing usability.

  2. Pre-set A Default Selection: This can be handy in reducing errors and ensuring a smoother user experience. It can easily be done by adding a 'checked' attribute to the preferred option.

  3. Place Options Vertically: This makes readability easier and interaction quicker than when placed horizontally.

Remember, the <input type="radio"> element in HTML forms makes it efficient and user-friendly to present multiple options and restrict selection to a single one, which is often required in data gathering, feedback, and survey scenarios.

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