We're designing a form that offers the user two sets of fields. The user
can fill out one or the other.
The ultimate in flexibility would be to keep all the fields enabled until
the user completes one set and submits the form. An indicator would chase
back and forth to show the user which set of fields is currently selected
to be submitted.
Does anyone have good *examples* of web-based interfaces that support this
sort of choice for the user, or advice against trying it?
Here is a scenario with reasoning to support trying this:
The user wishes to complete a task (in our case: provide identity
information for registration). There are two valid sets of information that
the user could provide. The user may have qualms about providing each set
of information because each set of information includes some details that
may be unnatural or uncomfortable for them to provide. As a result, the
user may be enduringly undecided about which option to select.
To accommodate the user, we'd like to keep the choice active and in front
of the user. That minimizes the switching cost and maintains a single
coherent context while the user is wobbling between alternatives. We can
also leave de-emphasized information on the screen for an abandoned
alternative, in case the user decides to resume that alternative.
Desktop software examples:
The Print dialog box in Microsoft PowerPoint (pre-2007) has an asymmetric
version of this. If you use the Slide Show menu to create one or more
custom shows, then you can toggle the method for specifying the print range
between Custom Show and Slides, each of which has a subordinate field. To
switch to Custom Show, you can use the drop-down menu, but to switch to
Slides, you have to click on the radio button.
Microsoft Excel (pre-2007) also demonstrates this behavior only partially:
in the Print dialog, you can start entering the page numbers you want, and
the radio button follows as an indicator. But there's nowhere else to enter
information, so to switch elsewhere, you have to set a different radio