I am trying to figure out which is the best way to implement a product catalog editor for desktop application. The products arent too many about max 100 i believe.enter image description here

I have figured out this model.At the left there would be categories in a a treeview style and at the right the products of the category.
I believe that it is easier to navigate that way but if i add a top category All then somehow i should add a column to product listing to show the category. I dont know whether this is good.. Also i dont know where to put a detail view of the product. Maybe at the bottom ?

I am looking for a little help or alternative model!:)


Right now, with the wireframe you provided, the elements are sperate from what the effect.

It would be better to pair graphically the buttons with that window they effect. Better yet, get rid of the buttons and add them directly into the area they are effecting.

Here is my wireframe as an example:


  • this seems good idea.For manipulating categories as they have some advanced properties i think i need a seperate form.But basic functions are (edit,new ,change parent,change order. ) i am not sure how to support them. Of cource i can use drag and drop but i have seen it and doesnt work well. also is it good to put down from these two controls , products details ? – GorillaApe Sep 17 '11 at 3:20

You can always take a look at Microsofts CatalogManager, which they have as part of their CommerceServer product. And then do nothing like it, because, even though it is infinately better than their earlier versions, it is still not good.*

There are two problems that you have - firstly, you need to provide edits for categories and products, both in the same interface. This makes it tricky, becasue the interface needs to handle both of these. If you can utilise the mouse clicks on the treeview to handle adding new categories, that is probably a good idea.

The second problem is that you may need to work with quite a few products at once. So if you can make htis possible, that would be good. At the very least, make sure that adding 10% to all prices in a category, for example, is easy to do.

SO I would make the product and category addition from the treeview, and use as much space as possible to enable the editing of the product details. And make sure that the interactions are all very clear. Always remember - I am sure that you will - that the people using this will be product specialists, not IT specialists. Make sure that it matches what they want to do and how they want to do it.

  • Their earlier versions are what drove me into HCI work, because they are wonderful examples of unusable user interfaces.
  • So you suggest having products and categories in the treeview? Then where should i place the buttons for adding/editing category/product ? – GorillaApe Sep 15 '11 at 17:20
  • Yes I think you should, because they are clearly connected, and users think of products within categories. The adding and editing should be in menus after clicking/right clicking the menu item. However, the other challenge is products that need to be in multiple categories. These are just my ideas, not definitive. – Schroedingers Cat Sep 15 '11 at 17:37
  • the problem is that i am not sure if right click is ok and new users will be confused.How on to add an item when there no button etc there,someone should tell them that they should right click. another problem is that apart from price ,products dont have any other important signle value feature. The other important feature is that they are asociated with some preferences.. – GorillaApe Sep 18 '11 at 19:13

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