I'm working on a social application whose main component we'll call
Object. On the Object view there is a drop down that can contain as many as 9 options.
Some of these options impact only a single user's experience and some impact the experience of all users who are members of the Object. For example, if a user selects
Mute Object, updates from that Object will not appear in their Overview page, but if they select
Close Object, that closes the Object for all users.
There are also some options in the menu that don't have an impact at all, like
Object URL which just opens a modal dialog that provides the user with the URL to the Object.
Users sometimes get confused about the scope of the option they select, not realizing that closing it will impact other users' ability to interact with the Object.
It has been proposed that we break up the options somehow, but I'm not sure what the best way to do that is visually. Should there be titles for the sections that bring out the scope? Should there be multiple buttons to open drop downs with options based on scope? Would it be better to re-word the options to indicate their impact (i.e.
Mute Object for You and
Close Object for all Users)?
We all know that users don't like to read things a lot, so long lists are just not good. Is there any information about how best to present long lists of options when the impact of the options has different scope or no impact at all?
In parens is the scope of the impact of each option. That is not a part of the actual implementation, just for informational purposes.
Examples of what's being considered to differentiate the impact of each option:
I've tweaked the menu items a little to obscure away what our actual project is since it is proprietary. The Object view is basically a list of messages and a message entry text area. So,
Mark All as Read refers to the messages in the Object and clicking
Show System Messages means the view will refresh and system messages will be populated in the view in addition to user-generated messages.
I agree that proper labeling could also fix the issue and if someone here comes up with really excellent ideas for changing the way we label things, I'll accept that. But there are some historical reasons for our wording so some ideas that might be good are just not possible to implement.