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I need to make a rating scale input device that satisfies the following requirements:

1) Each value must be associated with a number to the user.
2) It must be immediately clear that this thing measures a continuum.
3) It can't be pre-selected (making an actual slider all but impossible)
4) It must be adaptable to a number of different variables of differing levels of significance to the user.

I have attached my first attempt. It needs help.

enter image description here

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It's not clear what you are asking exactly. Right now it looks like a "please review my design" type question. I can see a good question in there, but not as it is asked right now, so please edit the post and make the specific question clearer. –  JohnGB May 4 '13 at 21:59
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I'd say the white-space between de boxes kinda works against the idea of a continuum, but otherwise I think you nailed it. Is there a problem to solve in this? –  Koen Lageveen May 6 '13 at 16:44
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Koen I think that actually gets to the heart of the matter. How to communicate continuum while maintaining a pseudo-Metro style (which tends to prize each discrete object having its own color). –  JClaussFTW May 6 '13 at 20:36
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When you say that you need to create an input device, is it actually a physical device? Or if it is an interface then I don't see why you need to restrict yourself to those requirements (or if you do please provide the reasons). –  Michael Lai May 6 '13 at 23:13
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2 Answers

Some ideas:

  • Join the buttons with some sort of bar.
  • Crank down the color. It's hard to spot what's selected
  • I think the transition from saturation = click me to saturation = currently selected option is confusing. I'd represent the transition with two different metaphors.

Here's a quick idea:

continuum of buttons

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Use a linear gradient to represent whatever colors you want and the use markers to represent points.

enter image description here

Something like this with markings for different points rather than entire boxes for individual points.

When you use box, you are essentially creating a discrete value rather than a continuous scale.

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