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I'm working on a B2B application where huge numbers of fields (up to 100) are divided into ten categories.

Please note, fields are grouped into different categories but impact each other.

like:

  1. Category 1 :: field name: Bandwidth

  2. Category 2 :: field name: delivery date

These are dependent on others or impacts others like changing bandwidth may change delivery date and delivery location etc.

scenario 1: fields could be updated after placing an order. e.x. delivery address, bandwidth, delivery date, email, personal details of vendor etc.

Question: How do I let the user know that there is an impact of changing fields?

My solution:

  1. If other fields are getting impacted by a change, show them in popup/popover and let the user guide to each fields one by one. like tour. But the problem is if a change#1 impact ten fields in different categories, It may look clumsy and confusing.
  2. Show all the dependent fields before hitting the submit button or before changing the data to set the expectation for the user?

There is no testing done as of now, will test it with first prototype but I need community's opinion on this. For me, answer 2 is a good way to start.

I'd appreciate your feedback. Also please share if there is any usecase similar to this available.

Thanks.

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When working with large record sizes, it's best for the manner of the input to follow the logical progression if you were to write it on paper. Of the 100 fields, are some only needed given certain conditions? If so, hide them when not needed. For instance, if the service/product provided determines the available delivery window, place the date picker in the same structure right below it. If you're not handling high-precision data like banking or legal, have a "name" field instead of "salutation," "first name," "middle initial," "last name," and "maiden name."

Also, any data structure should be small enough to be represented on a standard monitor. If all 100 fields must be shown, you need multiple pages. You could split the page into "Client" and "Order" or "Client" and "Account." If you or your employer want to see everything at once, that thinking is too linear. At this point, if you still have more than fifty fields that must be displayed at a given time, it's not a software issue. Good UX can help a lot, but a root problem of overcomplexity in procedure kills more businesses than anything else. Working magic in that case is like treating cancer with bandages.

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    To build on Travis' second to last sentence - you might first consider how critical it is to show your target users all these fields and their interdependency. That said - "simple" alone doesn't mean better, and the pursuit of visual simplicity is arguably vain when the job to be done is itself conceptually complex. It's not usability's job to demystify subject matter. So consider your audience and their needs and expectations. Based on that, you may be ok to do option #1 and trust that they'll figure it out through cause-and-effect. What do your users really need? – Luke Smith Jun 1 '17 at 11:18

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