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I have an entity (say, an event) the user needs to create periodically.

In its attributes, the user needs to enter a range in a text field that is a technical specification (complex). The user will enter different values for different events, but those will have a tendency to repeat.

For example: say they create one with 1, 2-3 on Monday, 4-5, 6, 7 on Tuesday, and so on. Come next Monday, they would find it fitting to have 1, 2-3 again. But remembering the exact sequence and re-typing it every week would be a hassle. So we'd like to save that to a preset they can name and reuse. (Without a preset, what would most likely happen would be that they would keep a sheet nearby with those written for reference, and type them back every time.)

I would assume in most cases the same codes come back pretty regularly, but we cannot make that assumption systematic.

On the other hand, I don't want to oblige the user to go back to another place to manage those presets and create one even before they can create their event.

Most often when using this dialog, the user would be selecting a preset. Only in their first uses or when making a change would they need to enter a "new preset".

I'm looking for a way for them to either enter a new code or select a preset without switching contexts.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

I'm thinking the pattern of using a preset or making a new one without switching contexts is pretty common. Does this have a name? What would be a good UI pattern for this?

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Is the naming really needed? Or would it soon become a nightmare to remember which name to enter/select for the proper settings string? An automatic history on the edit field seems like it would do the trick just fine without the additional burden of having to name the entries. –  Marjan Venema Jun 21 '13 at 8:19
    
@marjan I'm afraid it is, yes. –  Jonathan Allard Jun 21 '13 at 20:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I would just fold "Add New" into the dropdown. You can also do without a separate preset management interface. The below approach eliminates need for dedicated "Edit" "add" "Save" buttons just for that field.

Good luck!

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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I'll give it a try.

The most frequent thing my user does, besides first times, is to select a preset. Otherwise, they can create another. A select field is presented with an 'Add' button to add new ones.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

And a link somewhere to cleanup those if need be.

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