I'm working on an interaction that allows business owners who manage multiple locations choose recipients for their marketing campaigns.

The business owner must select 2< locations for their marketing campaign. Then they have to decide whether they want the campaign to go to everyone subscribed or a specific subset of their customers for that location. These subsets (or lists) are managed on a location level.

Right now I've put together an interaction that takes the selected locations and let's the business owners choose the recipients from a dropdown. By default, everyone subscribed is selected.



I think this is fine if the business owner selects less than 5 locations but any more than that, this interaction could get incredibly tedious. For example, they could choose 20 locations with 5 lists each or 15 locations with 8 lists each. Does anyone have any ideas on how to streamline this? Thanks!


Well, this is a classic Information Architecture problem, kind of egg or chicken dilemma: which one goes first?. This happens when you have 2 or more paths that apparently hold the same weight in an structure

Happily, you can define this most of the times by considering the backwards path. For example, in your particular case, you have "Location 1, Location 2, Location 3, Location *n*" which you're taking as main branches for your tree sub-branches: Everyone Subscribed and Specific Lists.

Now, consider this: as you said, the number of locations will vary, but the lists will be immutable. And this is where you (correctly) perceive the problem. Not only it will be tedious for the user, but the output could expand to infinitum.

The Solution

As I said above, go backwards. Instead of selecting lists for each location, let the user select the lists first. Like this:

Choose List --> User selects list A or B
Choose Location --> User selects all possible locations for the desired list (note: locations presented as checkboxes)

And that's it! Now instead of a tedious process with lengthy outcome, you have a 2 steps fast process with barely no friction at all

PS: Of course, as in anything UX: test, test, test

  • Thanks for the response! I should've made it clearer in my explanation but the number of lists per location will vary as well. Business owners can create any number of lists and give the lists an arbitrary name. – Sara Nov 4 '16 at 19:21
  • It's still the same. Besides, you have 2 possible main lists (Everyone and Specific) and then some sub-lists if specific which act as filters. If Everyone is selected, you just saved 50% of the work to the user, no matter how many lists. Furthermore: the more lists, the biggest the difference in time / effort saved. Just as an exercise, try drawing on paper a few prototypes with your approach, my approach and different cases recombining an N number of lists and locations and you'll see what I mean. Is pure maths – Devin Nov 4 '16 at 20:02
  • This solution makes a lot of sense. I would add that allowing the user to type the first few letters to filter the options in each dropdown would help power users significantly. Also, if @Devin's suggestion is no improvement because users overwhelmingly chose different lists for each location, it may help to allow the user to choose lists immediately after they add a location, instead of adding all locations first and then choosing the lists for each. This way, the context for each location is fresh in their minds when they choose a list. – Andres Riofrio Nov 5 '16 at 9:53
  • Great! Yeah, I definitely want to add a search box. The only instance that I'm still struggling with is if a business owner wants a campaign to send to everyone subscribed for some locations and specific lists for other locations. – Sara Nov 8 '16 at 19:49

There's probably a better solution, but here's my 2 cents

  • one solution is you could also use animation to rewards the user during the input process. Consider a simple check mark at the end of each input completion

  • another that could be used with a combination of the above is a progress bar. this gamification element will motivate the user to complete it more.

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