Being an interaction designer means you’re aware of improvements that can be made in the things you use every day. This one is about a dropdown in Citibank’s password recovery flow. Hey, Citi! Here’s an easy win.

So you’ve set up your Citi credit card to autopay, and don’t recall your password on the odd time you need to log in. You go to reset it, provide the identifying information, and click Reset Password, only to have the page stop you with some red text and inform you that you missed a required field. A required field with only one possible selection.

Here’s the easy win, Citicards: Remember that One is Special. As I wrote in Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction:

Many systems are built to handle any number of items simultaneously: zero, one, or more than one. When the system has zero items, its interface can shift to tools that allow for monitoring or selection. When the system has multiple items, its interface must allow the user to indicate which of the items is currently selected and should be acted on…

When there is only one item, however, the system should adjust accordingly. No one should have to select when there's only one option. Even a simple shift of language to confirm the selection accomplishes this. Additionally, selection tools for the primary object are no longer necessary, and ambient signals can be used since their connection will not be ambiguous. Designers should adjust the designs of systems to accommodate the special case of having only one item.

So there it is, write a little code that says, “Oh, hey. Look at that. There’s only one option here, so rather than resort to red text and slamming the gate down on this user’s already-unpleasant task, I’ll just take care of that for them, since there’s no other option. It’s the nice thing to do. Here you go, user, I pre-selected that for you. Have a nice day and good luck with the rest of that password recovery.” You haven’t had to touch anything but the JavaScript and you’ve made user’s days a little nicer. Easy win!