Are there any known design guidelines for allowing users to apply the same settings to multiple items at the same time?
Also how can I make it clear which items have the similar/same settings?
As a quick example; I have a list of items where each item can have a set of settings independently set different to all other items. But users usually want to configure multiple items to have the same settings and then perhaps go back and pick just one of the items and configure with a slight variation.
I've got two designs in mind for this:
By showing the list of items, and when the user selects the item, a panel to the right of the list shows the settings for that item. But this doesn't quite work for the multiple item scenario. I could allow for a check box in the list to allow multiple items to be selected and then the settings panel combines all items settings at once. I don't think its clear which items have the same settings and when 2 selected items have different settings what should the panel show.
Make use of an accordion control to allow logical grouping of items and settings. But this also feels a bit clunky because it means the user would have to group items first before allowing them to set settings. This also makes for complicated workflow if the user wants to deviate one of the items settings (they would have to remove the item from the group and add to its own group). I think this also becomes a bit cumbersome if every item have its own unique setting.
Any advice on this design would be much appreciated.
PS. this will be implemented on a online web application.