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I am creating a UI that has to deal with the distribution of prizes. The prizes can be distributed as follows:

A total number of prizes per location
I have 10 prizes that can be claimed in total. So if a location has 10 children, I have 10 prizes total that can be won. So 10 total prizes.

A set number of prizes per location/children I have 10 prizes that can be claimed per location. So if a location has 10 children, I have 10 prizes per child node. So 100 total prizes.

Am looking for some insight on a good UI to select this paradigm.

I am stuck on the issue of being able to select 1 location (that includes children) and allocating a total number of prizes, and being able to select a location and allocating a total number of prizes per child.

Current Ideas:
I was thinking something along the lines of creating a sentence with the options. However, I don't think these are very intuitive or use language everyone could understand.

Distribute [a combined total] of ((10)) prizes per [location name]

Distribute [an individual total] of ((10)) prizes per [location name]

Legend:
[xxxx] means a selector (dropdown, modal whatever)
((xx)) input field or user input area

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I must admit I'm struggling to understand. You have either a set number of prizes per location, or you have a set number of prizes per child, per location. Is that correct? –  Matt Obee Dec 7 '12 at 17:32
    
@mattobee sorry it's a tough paradigm. You are correct, but need to support both. Example:Select a location region like New York, and new york has 3 children (yonkers, brooklyn & queens). I need to be able to support the following setups: Distributing 10 prizes total in New York region. So say yonkers wins 4, queens 6 and brooklyn 0. Dosen't matter, but the key is that 10 have been won total. and Distributing 10 prizes between the children, for 100 items total. So New York has 100 prizes, 10 for each child. Im thinking this may be a little complicated and needs some re-thought. –  Destructo Dec 7 '12 at 18:46
    
@MattObee what I think I might do, is have the user select the type of distribution first (total or per child), then from there then can add quantities and other information. –  Destructo Dec 7 '12 at 18:56
    
From your comments I kind of understand the background, but: What kind of UI approach have you tried so far? What is the actual problem here? –  kontur Dec 10 '12 at 14:59
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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

If I understand your question correctly, you are dealing with a taxonomy of locations. Beyond the examples you provided in your comments, I can imagine a hierarchy like this:

Earth
- North America
-- United States
--- New York
---- New York City MSA
----- Yonkers
----- Brooklyn
----- Queens

This is a taxonomy of locations or "regions" to which you will be applying a distribution. What you are trying to achieve is a UI associated with a "distribution level." Whereas the State of New York is a "distribution level" and the New York City MSA is also a "distribution level." You could enumerate these levels so that the state had a value of 3 (for example) and the MSA had a level of 4. Your distribution of prizes is "prizes per distribution level" so that 10 prizes distributed to level 4 would result in 10 prizes split between all levels below it. A distribution level of 5 would distribute 10 prizes to a region like Yonkers.

Now, the key here is that you have different business rules for "Level 4" and "Level 5" distributions. For Level 4, only one region will be awarded prizes. For Level 5, all regions belonging to the same Level 4 region will receive prizes.

All of that Information Architecture talk to finally get to the UI. For the basic structure, using a slider or other selection tool, allow the user to select the various distribution levels. Include text that dynamically calculates to indicate how the prizes are distributed. Use some kind of visual clue to group the level 5 regions together and make sure that the selector "snaps" to the whole group.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

For the second scenario, the distribution level will "snap" to the whole block and update the label accordingly.

mockup

download bmml source

This could be expanded to include areas "higher" and "lower" in your distribution levels.

Of course, all of this depends on my understanding of your question. If I misunderstood, clear it up for me. (As an aside, I originally interpreted your use of "children" to refer to human children because of its proximity to "prizes." That may be throwing off other readers, too.)

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You pretty much nailed it. Very clever. I like the use of the slider and how the visual cue would show where the distribution would occur. I was trying to create something inline. But I think a nice slidedown to show this type of widget would be helpful. Thanks for your insight. –  Destructo Dec 11 '12 at 15:26
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Depending on your context and how the user models the problem, you might be able to do something as simple as this:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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Hi Jimmy, thanks for your help! The issue I have with this paradigm is that the user would have to know the location they want to target. I am assuming that these locations could change as the client grows locations. I think some sort of selection tree or UI is needed. Thanks! –  Destructo Dec 11 '12 at 15:28
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