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I need to allow the user to input a setting that controls the showing of a GUI feature after performing a number of steps.

The setting would control the number of steps in the application that should lapse before the feature is shown. The possibilities for the setting are:

Show feature:

  • Always show
  • Never show
  • Show after n steps, n is a range 1-10, (probably the meaningful values are up to 6-7, but we're allowing few more steps).

We can possibly show three different fields that match these possibilities, but would be nicer if we just presented one range input control where:

[0]-----[ ]-----------------[10]
         3

0 means always show (i.e after 0 steps), 10 means never show and values in-between mean actual steps

Is this a good idea, and how best to communicate the end point meanings to the user? Or is there a better design for this type of situation?

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1 Answer 1

Why don't you display your three options? It's makes perfect sense, the way you explained it:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

That 10 means "never", in your example, does not make obvious sense, though. If you do want to keep the one range input control, you could just write out what it means in a label. At first, show it with the recommended number. When dragging to 0 or 10, change the label to what 0 and 10 represents.

mockup

At last, I am curious about the need for a control to make the program act in arbitrary ways? If you are designing a tool for administrators, managing how the program should work for normal users, then I understand. But if this setting is for normal users to set, this could be too advanced. For example, there is a risk that some will set it to Never, forget that they did, and then wonder why the program is not working anymore.

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Thanks for the useful points. WRT the last point, this is a learning application where different users can have different strategy preferences. Say for instance you can just browse through the items, or answer questions while browsing and so on. For novice users proper defaults would be provided, but for advanced users the features not relevant to their preferred strategy would be clutter, the settings are provided to reduce this unwanted clutter. –  Basel Shishani Apr 13 '13 at 9:34
    
And true it can create confusion. Maybe can be mitigated by providing direct links to relevant settings on individual pages. –  Basel Shishani Apr 13 '13 at 9:35

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