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I have a flight logging application with a profile section that allows users to enter personal information about themselves and additionally add any certificates they own (recreational- and private pilot licenses for instance) as well as the ratings on the certificate (such as a class-, type- or instrument rating). Any such certificate can hold an arbitrary amount of ratings. The problem I have is how to get this input. My profile section looks as follows right now:

profile section

The Certificates tab features a dropdown that contains a 'New' item which displays a form to add a new certificate with ratings. What pattern would be effective for entering this data?

An additional consideration:

  • Depending on whether the user chooses a class- or type rating, I need to branch and ask which class or which type the rating applies to.

Would a complex form like this lend itself to being a part of a profile section, or should it be moved to a completely different page dedicated to its purpose?

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Since your application is about flying, I'd say these certificates are part of a user profile. However, I wouldn't make the certificates tab too "busy" with a lot of input fields.

I would leave out the dropdown arrow from the tab button, and display a list or table of the certificates someone has on the tab page. Each row or line in the table or list should have an edit and remove button. At the end of the list, make a seperate button to add a new license, and make that button open up a form in which all settings can be made. Note that editing a license can actually open the exact same form to make changes. That gives you only one form to implement for two purposes, plus you can let it be modal and take up most of the screen so the user has ample space to make input.

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Thanks! I suppose that is a better idea than trying to cram a complex form in the tab. –  Laurens Apr 23 '12 at 18:30
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