I have a user interface that provides two alternatives for one action. The alternatives describe how the chosen action should be performed by the computer (different goal functions or heuristics of an algorithm).
The difference between them will not be self-explanatory for new users. With time, they should learn the effect on the result of the action. Advanced users should be able to decide about the alternative depending on the situation. We do not want to automate the decision, but leave it to the user.
I am considering two design alternatives. First, the alternatives could be available in (nested) sub-menus, either in the main menu or in a context menu. Second, the alternatives could be available to the user in an popup-dialog that opens after the action is selected.
The second alternative allows me to express the meaning of the two options more clearly, because I don't have to decide for a certain name for the menu entry, whose meaning must be documented somewhere. For example, I can ask "do you want to put a higher weight a) on this, or b) on that "?
Which alternative do you think is best or are there any other recommendations for this issue?