It was suggested that I post to this site the first half of a question I posted on StackOverflow.
I have a data grid (in my situation, Microsoft's .NET platform using WPF) wherein I want the user to be able to add data in the new row at the bottom of the grid. The first few columns of data need valid data to be entered before I can perform required calculations on data entered in the other columns. Therefore, I need the user to enter in the first few columns of data first.
What method / restrictions on input is easiest to understand from the user's perspective? Should I somehow make only these first few columns editable on the new row, while the other columns are disabled? Or should I allow the user to enter information in any column and "cache" the input until the user enters valid data in the first few columns?
I want to avoid using a pop-up dialog to add new rows to the datagrid - I know this solution would allow me to force the user to complete the required fields first and not offer the opportunity to type in any other fields. The flow of the rest of the application uses the "new row" at the bottom of the grid, and I've been encouraged to follow that format.