I apologise in advance if this is rather vague, I'll give as much detail as I can.

In our software, one of the tasks the user needs to perform is assigning people to an item in order for those specific people to be able to purchase it. They can either assign groups of people (pre-made groups), or individual people.

Once they have assigned people to the item they can then give individual people discounts by applying bursaries and allowances.

Assign people step in wizard

As you can see this is the final stage in a wizard which allows the user to create the item these people can pay for.

(A little side note, the 2 input fields in the top section will be typeaheads - see below , allowing the user to search for groups and/or individuals)

Typeahead design

One of the problems I am having is that this is a redesign of a current system, adding in new functionality. As part of the previous version when the users assigned people to an item they would use check boxes to indicate who is assigned and who is not. I have changed the use of the checkboxes, so now everyone in the list at the bottom is assigned, they need to physically remove people using the remove button. The checkboxes in my design are used to bulk apply allowances and bursaries or to bulk remove people. I have tried adding instructions, however it is well known that "users don't read" (a ltitle mantra I follow)!

So my 2 questions:

  1. Does anyone have a better way of assigning people to the item?
  2. Is there a good way to tell the user that the checkbox is no longer used to indicate who is assigned and who is not?

1 Answer 1


Couple of first impressions:

1) The remove button is taking a lot of space right now, maybe replace it with a trash bin icon or x icon to make space for other in-row actions? (also why is there option to remove item above the table if there is one in-row?)

2) The edit icon takes a lot of space, make it smaller and decrease contrast.

3) Adding allowances and bursaries could happen by pressing an in-row plus icon. This way you could remove the checkboxes altogether.

Each row could look like this: Name Lastname Year Reg Allowances&Bursaries + x

Every icon could have a tiny tooltip on hover.

This is a situation where I absolutely recommend doing some usability testing with the user group that has previously used the old solution. Ideally you would do multiple rounds of testing and modifying, so that in the end you will have a solution that you know works well.

I would also recommend asking yourself how much user research you did before coming up with this design? Did you ask the users of the old version what they struggle with? Did you observe them using the old version? If not, please go do it now. The benefits of getting this information will be enormous.

Here are some good basic resources on user testing:

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/parallel-and-iterative-design/ https://www.nngroup.com/articles/why-you-only-need-to-test-with-5-users/

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any additional questions. :)

  • Thanks for the reply. We did usability testing, which flagged up the issue of users of the current system thinking the checkboxes were to indicate who was assigned and who wasn't. The remove button above the table is so that the user can use the checkboxes to bulk select people and remove them all in one go rather than having to do one at a time. A lot of user research has been done both on the old design and testing the new designs. We have spoken to users and observed them.
    – JacquiDow
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 15:49
  • 1
    Ok, thanks for the clarification! In that case I would just prototype multiple different versions, and user test them to see which one performs the best. If assigning and deleting in bulk is important for the use case, then the checkboxes are probably the smartest solution. It is always tricky when you have to deal with expectations that are inherited from an old version. Luckily people usually get used to new versions pretty fast once they start using them.
    – Satu
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 15:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.