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An Android app provides several possible values for a setting. The user needs to be able to quickly toggle between two of the settings, A and B. 95% of the time they will only be interested in A and B, and may be switching between the frequently. However they also need to be able to select C, D, or E on occasion. What is the best control and/or interaction method to allow this kind of selection shortcut?

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Windows 7 does this with power plans...I'll try and get a screenshot tonight –  Ben Brocka Sep 20 '12 at 19:51
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4 Answers 4

I would love a dropdown but considering this is an android app, the dropdown might not be the best option.

For the user to quickly toggle between two "favorable options" and not get distracted by the others, I'd hide the "unfavorable options" and show them only when necessary.

In the mockups I've taken a checkout case, where

  • option A could be Credit card
  • option B could be Debit card

The two favorable options, and others could have

  • option C as cheque
  • option D as offline payment
  • option E as Demand draft

Again, they don't have to be radio buttons, they could be really well designed buttons, the point is to hide the "unfavorable" ones and show the ones the user picks most frequently.

enter image description here

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I agree with the first answer that proposes to hide the less used.

But it's very important not to complicate the matter further by introducing some kind of hierarchy to it such as category "popular" and category "others." Because they are just options, no need to group them that way.

So instead, you can just show the two most used options, then have a different kind of button for "more," so the user know where to click if they want to see more options. After the More button is clicked, then hide the More button, and spawn the other options, but also show a border between the original options and the newly-spawned ones, because the user need to know what are newly added out of all the options presented.

Pick an option:
1) Option 1
2) Option 2
[more options]

After more button is clicked

Pick an option:
1) Option 1
2) Option 2
---------------
3) Option 3
4) Option 4
5) Option 5
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I hate to be boring but the best UI is the one you don't notice. Just offer a list items of the choices in order of most likely chosen. (A first, B second and so on)

No breaks, No links to "others", no further thought required.

Choose a Setting
Option A
Option B
Option C
Option D

Nothing to over think for you either!

You didn't provide any context on what the actual settings are so I assume delivery by list item would be a fine choice. Tap(up pops the list) > Tap top item... done. Tap again > Tap item right below it...setting B. The pattern will be learned immediately.

I learned from direct experience that people tend to choose the first choice from a list of items. We have an interface for generating cut and paste code that opens a booking tool with a tab, button, or embedded in a page. When I redesigned the interface and put button as the first choice, button suddenly became the number one choice.

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What about using an accordion that is laid out like this:

  • Option A
  • Option B
  • Others
    • Option C
    • Option D

In this case, clicking A or B will set the option, while clicking on Others will open up the header and allow users to select C or D. The problem is that you won't be able to see the actual option selected if the accordion is collapsed, but you can tweak the default behaviour if the information is important.

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