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I need some advice please. I currently have a screen and the plan is to completely redesign it. But first, to tell what is does. It is a screen for managing orders, much lick a standard order form, name, address, phone etc plus a few other textboxes for aditiona information. However this screen is for an internal system, and there are also 2 buttons which allow the employee to select from a contact saved in the database or import a whole oreder, also saved in the database. Both of them open a popup with a table which allows paging, filtering and a single selection. Even more, for each row there is an edit link which opens another popup for a detail editing of the row(even though nobody uses this). From the technical point of view, it's a nightmare, it's slow, buggy and so on. So I have to come up with an ideea to have the same functionality but in a more simpler way.

I would like to completely drop the popups. But the database can be huge, so I can't use dropdowns, and also I can't pre-load the whole data when the user enters the page. Basically I need to help the user to allow the selection of one client from a huge number in the simplests and fastest way possible, based on some "filtering": (part of)name, zipcode for example.

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Screenshot(s) would help. I know you don't have enough reputation yet to include images and can only add one link. If you put your screenshot(s) in one image and place it somewhere on the web and add the link to your question (which you can edit by the way), someone here with enough rep will add it as an image to your question. –  Marjan Venema Nov 23 '11 at 9:23
    
Hi, Thanks for your time reading this. Unfortunately I can't post any screenshots since, like I said, it's from a company internal solution, used by its employees not by the general public. Also I don't want to carry on anything from the current design which is too crowded and counter intuitive. I want a new page, with the some standard textboxes/dropdowns found on every checkout form. The problem I am facing is filtering some huge data to complete those textboxes, process which currently is done via popups with tables inside them –  Alex Nov 23 '11 at 9:31

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An idea that comes to mind is sort of what Twitter does with its "side" panel to the right of the timeline (or whatever you have in the main area).

In your case the side panel could be used to show some filter criteria and a list that would be populated. You could even have two tabs there, one to filter and select a single contact, one to do the same of orders. Just be sure to leave the last one used open and re-open the last one used when someone returns to the form.

If the orders are always pre-filtered by a selecting a contact, you could simply have one side panel, where you first allow for filter criteria and a list to select a contact. Once a contact has been selected you could "fold up" the criteria and the list, showing only the selected contact's details and add filter criteria plus selection list for orders below that.

Upon selecting a contact in the initial filter of the side panel, don't change the order yet. Do that only when the user says to do so by "use selected contact for new order", or by "use selected order for new order".

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thank you for a good idea. I think I will use a side panel but to the left, and first it is hidden, only in case the user needs press something and it is expanded. –  Alex Nov 25 '11 at 14:15

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