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I'm developing sort of a form editor where the user can build a form. The user clicks on a button with an icon of a form field and the form field is added to the form.

I'm wondering what's the best when adding a field like radio, select or checkbox:

  1. A functional driven way: The user first choose a behavior (like 1 out of many), and than choose a visual field for it (like radio or select)
  2. A visual driven way: The user first choose a field (like select) and after that choose if that field can have multiple selections (multiple select)

What is the best way to do it? Is the user capable of choosing the form-field first and after that the configuration of multiple values?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

If I'm understanding your question correctly then it sounds like the most intuitive approach would be have an option under which all inputs with multiple selectors/options reside. There'd be no point in a user having the apparent option of adding a set of radio buttons or a drop-down menu if they hadn't already decided that it best suited their needs (which I guess sounds like your 'visually driven' approach).

That then simplifies the later choice of input-type, and potentially frees up screen real estate (because you could then temporarily eliminate all form elements that don't apply to multi-select behavior).

I'd keep it as a 'top-down' approach. What is the user likely to decide on a more general level before they need to be aware of the options pertaining to that choice?

Long story, short. I'd give the user a choice of input type first, then give them the chance to refine their functionality.

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