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I have a modal with a sidebar of checkboxes that, when checked, append options to a panel on the right for the user to customize.


selecting Relationship option inserts relationship section at top of adjacent form

My question: I currently have the items being appended to the top of previously added items in the order that they are checked off. I do this because I think the user should see what is being added as they check the boxes, as opposed to the item appending to the bottom of the scrollable area. Are there any use cases that would suggest the order of the criteria in the right panel should always match the order of their respective checkboxes in the left panel?

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2 Answers 2

If you happen to be filling the form below the scroll fold and add a top section you'll not only have the same problem of not seeing the section appear right in front of you but also experience your current view being pushed down by the new content which very is annoying.

I'd suggest going with an accordion of collapsible sections like below:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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With the fields in your demo, I don't foresee any use case issues. However, it's not clear to me that the demo is the actual fields you'll be using. If you apply the structure to a different form where some of the fields correspond to events, it could confuse the user if they're not ordered chronologically. For example, if this were a resume-creation site, and the user could add in different levels of education, it could get confusing if the Bachelor's degree was shown between the Master's and the Doctorate.

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I had a couple of other thoughts that didn't warrant being in the main post because they don't directly address your question, but which nevertheless relate to the style of form you're using. (See below.) –  3nafish Dec 13 '12 at 2:11
1. You may want to try starting out with all the items checked. That way, you can choose the initial order in which things are presented to the user. (Also, that way the user will feel compelled to fill out more fields.) –  3nafish Dec 13 '12 at 2:12
2. If you decide that the ordering of the main list doesn't matter, you could cause the checkbox to move to the top of it's own list as it's checked off. The items in the main list will still always appear at the top where they're visible, but the checkbox order will continue to match the main list order. –  3nafish Dec 13 '12 at 2:13

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