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I am designing a map using Google Maps API that allows a potential company to check off boxes based on skill set (currently active), interest areas, and languages.

Each column will have around 15-30 checkboxes. Before programming further, I wanted to get some opinions on an elegant way to handle multiple columns of checkboxes.

Take a look at the current implementation here: http://dreaminginswahili.com/admin/mapv4.html Or this picture:

enter image description here

Remember, after the skill menu, I'm going to have another column that has checkboxes of interest areas, and another that has checkboxes of languages. I can't conceive of a way to beautifully render these data choices though. Maybe a scrolling window on the right pane?

Second problem: There are simply too many languages to enumerate all of them. What's a better way to conveniently select languages of interest?

Any ideas?

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You really should ask only one question per post. Though the question of how to select a language is probably already well-covered on UX.SE. –  Brian Jul 16 '13 at 21:30
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Welcome to the site Parseltongue. With regard to your second question about language selection, see this question for somewhere to start: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/37017/… –  Charles Wesley Jul 16 '13 at 22:27
    
In this case, I would suggest that there are too many items and perhaps you should try to organize or group them so the user only has to focus on the areas/sections that are relevant to them (in the skill menu and interest menu). –  Michael Lai Jul 16 '13 at 22:45
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You could give a user more space, not shrinking the area of selection. A lot of items placed into small space make the view cluttered and choice become less comfortable.
enter image description here

Items grouping makes the choice much easy, as a user scans headers first, not the whole items. Even if there are not obvious categories, just the set of several small colunms breaks all the items on chunks, which are perceived better than one long colunm.

In your demo I saw some empty combinations, i.e. Business Development and Graphic Design have no elements. So having choosen some option, there is no sense to let choose empty sets. So it could be disabled, or at least, make it clear for user which sets are empty.
enter image description here

For local business it could be better to set Interest Areas first, then Skills.

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This is gorgeous and brilliant. Two random questions: 1) What program did you design the graphic preview? 2) Do you know of a good place to start programatically to produce those tabs? –  Parseltongue Jul 17 '13 at 13:47
    
1) I use Xara Photo & Graphic Designer for the sketches; 2) I think Twitter Bootstrap tabs is a good start. –  Alexey Kolchenko Jul 17 '13 at 13:55
    
Thanks, Alexey. I don't have a lot of web programming experience (taught myself by scratch that whole interface in two days), but I'll try Bootstrap –  Parseltongue Jul 17 '13 at 13:59
    
Looks like Bootstrap requires Jquery, but Google API doesn't support JQuery. Any ideas? –  Parseltongue Jul 17 '13 at 14:02
    
JQuery in Bootstrap is used for user interface elements, so it shouldn't conflict with Google API. Also you can implement tabs with clear javascript, it is not difficult. –  Alexey Kolchenko Jul 17 '13 at 14:56
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