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"ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" <[log in to unmask]>
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Joanie McCollom <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 22 Oct 2009 06:39:16 -0700
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Joanie McCollom <[log in to unmask]>
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Jim,

Do you have a sense of what users might want or expect to select when they
encounter this box?

This insight might help to design it appropriately. For example, if it's a
long form and users are just trying to get through it, they may want to simply
start typing "Mex" if they want to select Mexico, expecting behavior much like
a drop-down. (Assuming the end goal is for you to collect country
information.) If the form has expectations in which users describe themselves
and they're not trying to blow through it, then the design could have a great
deal more license. 

-joanie

------ Original Message ------
Received: 02:06 PM PDT, 10/21/2009
From: Jim Miller <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Hierarchy selection: picking multiple countries and regions

> I have a client who has a strong international focus and who needs to  
> let his users specify a set of countries and/or geographical regions  
> -- for instance, he'd like them to be able to pick "Central America or  
> Mexico" and so come up with the set of all the countries in Central  
> America, plus Mexico.  The assumption is that we would structure the  
> list of all the countries into a hierarchy of regions (e.g., Africa,  
> Caribbean, The Americas) and sometimes sub-regions (e.g., Central  
> Africa, East Africa, etc.), and then let the users pick either  
> specific countries or regions (thus selecting all the countries within  
> the region).
> 
> I've been able to disabuse him of the idea of trying to do this with a  
> multiple-selection listbox, but now the question is how to do it.   
> I've spitballed a few ideas --
> 
> 	* each region gets a checkbox and a "twisty triangle" that, when  
> clicked, opens to reveal the sub-regions and/or countries, each of  
> which has its own twisty triangle and/or checkbox.
> 
> 	* the old Mac "font mover" design: a list of selectable stuff on the  
> left side of a display; selecting something enables an "add" button  
> that, when clicked, moves the selected things to a second list on the  
> right.
> 
> but I'm not in love with any of these just yet.  There are obviously  
> some tricky issues about data representation in all of this that I'll  
> forego for now (e.g., the difference between picking a region vs.  
> picking all the components of a region); my current plan is to get the  
> interface right and deal with the data structures later.
> 
> This is clearly a specific case of a more general problem of picking  
> stuff from a hierarchy, but I haven't had much luck in finding  
> solutions to similar problems.  Any thoughts or suggestions out there?
> 
> Thanks,
> Jim
> 
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