selection from large & complex data sets?

26 Apr 2004 - 11:20am
9 years ago
2 replies
601 reads
Dave Malouf
2005

hey there,

A problem that I have often found in web-based applications is around the
selection (multi-select) from a large data set that requires the display of
multiple layers of meta-data in order to allow the user to make a proper and
informed selection.

It appears that the current set of conventions and standards don't work well
in all circumstances, especially when the selections are made as a
sub-selection for another item (what I have been taught to call a correlated
repeating attribute).

My issues are around making these selections clear in method. Usability
suggests that for whatever reason, building collections w/ checkboxes
doesn't seem to work, for example.

I was wondering if others have faced this problem and what types of
solutions have they come up with if any.

- dave
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Comments

28 Apr 2004 - 3:45pm
vutpakdi
2003

--- David Heller <dave at interactiondesigners.com> wrote:
> A problem that I have often found in web-based applications is around the
> selection (multi-select) from a large data set that requires the display
> of
> multiple layers of meta-data in order to allow the user to make a proper
> and
> informed selection.
>
...
>
> My issues are around making these selections clear in method. Usability
> suggests that for whatever reason, building collections w/ checkboxes
> doesn't seem to work, for example.
>

Our applications are primarily client-server based, so I'm not sure how
transferable our solution is, but, if I understand your situation
correctly, we see frequently see this sort of design pattern/situation.

Our recommended solution is to use two tables rather than a single table
with checkboxes (or some other multi-select mechanism). The first table
contains what is available, and the second table contains what is selected.
The user selects items in the first table by clicking on one or more
lines, and then clicks on an arrow to move the items to the second table.

If more information about each item is required, we add columns to both
tables when the information lends itself to being in a table. If it
doesn't, selecting a row in a table displays an area below the table which
contains the necessary information. An alternate to the "area below" thing
is the availability of a pop up window (managed with a standard window
border) or frameless (disappears automatically)) which provides more detail
(or an applicable graphic).

Does that make sense? If not, I can come up with a very rough wireframe
sketch and send it to you.

Ron

=====
============================================================================
Ron Vutpakdi
vutpakdi at acm.org

28 Apr 2004 - 3:50pm
Dave Malouf
2005

HI Ron, this is a common solution.
1. in web-space requires checkboxes
2. once you add columns of info into your select boxes you either need to
have a horizontal scroll for each individual select box, &/or you need to
have resizable columns.

BTW, this is precisely the addressbook model that I was talking about
before.
I'd love to see screenshots of the web-mail thatout Exchange 2003 is using,
but I'm afraid that like many things in 2003 they are using active controls
(sharepoint uses these all over the place) to make up for HTML widget
limitations.

This is but one of many reasons that I'm so drawn to Rich Internet Apps
using technologies like Flash, Curl, .Net, etc.

-- dave

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Ron Vutpakdi
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 4:46 PM
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] selection from large & complex data sets?

--- David Heller <dave at interactiondesigners.com> wrote:
> A problem that I have often found in web-based applications is around
> the selection (multi-select) from a large data set that requires the
> display of multiple layers of meta-data in order to allow the user to
> make a proper and informed selection.
>
...
>
> My issues are around making these selections clear in method.
> Usability suggests that for whatever reason, building collections w/
> checkboxes doesn't seem to work, for example.
>

Our applications are primarily client-server based, so I'm not sure how
transferable our solution is, but, if I understand your situation correctly,
we see frequently see this sort of design pattern/situation.

Our recommended solution is to use two tables rather than a single table
with checkboxes (or some other multi-select mechanism). The first table
contains what is available, and the second table contains what is selected.
The user selects items in the first table by clicking on one or more lines,
and then clicks on an arrow to move the items to the second table.

If more information about each item is required, we add columns to both
tables when the information lends itself to being in a table. If it
doesn't, selecting a row in a table displays an area below the table which
contains the necessary information. An alternate to the "area below" thing
is the availability of a pop up window (managed with a standard window
border) or frameless (disappears automatically)) which provides more detail
(or an applicable graphic).

Does that make sense? If not, I can come up with a very rough wireframe
sketch and send it to you.

Ron

=====
============================================================================
Ron Vutpakdi
vutpakdi at acm.org

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