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The application I'm working on generally handles survey forms (User are filling up surveys). As part of the survey there is one question that has large number of options (~120 select boxes). The first time a user fills up the survey one page handles it, if he wants to review a different form is used.

Now, on first answer our client demands check boxes in 3 columns, and when editing answers in the form our client demands two columns, and totally different ordering of columns, so they fit properly in two columns (there are groups and subgroups among options).

Now, I am no UX expert, but this looks to me as bad UX so wanted to hear some experts' opinion; Is this is bad UX? Is it good idea at all two handle INSERT and UPDATE on two different forms?

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It depends if a) the same person is actually updating and entering the data, b) the time gap between entering and updating, c) the efficiency gain in having a second layout for the update form and the real-world benefits of those gains in practice. Typically, though, the onus is on the client to prove the inconsistency is justifiable, not the other way around. I certainly wouldn't let my grid structure force me to create multiple form designs, though. – Jimmy Breck-McKye Sep 10 '12 at 20:17

I agree with the others that this is hard to visualize, so I'm not sure if this is directly answering your question or not.

120 options is way too many to handle using standard form elements. You may want to look into the Chosen library. You may find an elegant solution to your specific problem.

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