My form confirms components for a product prior to assembly. Each field is pre-loaded from the spec for that product. Occasionally, the user overrides the spec with a known item or custom item.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups


Does my design have any obvious flaws? If so, please describe.


  • The Value initializes from the spec.
  • The last Value is (Custom) to require a Custom entry. The user must actively look through the list before resorting to a Custom value.
  • A highlighted row indicates the property has been overridden.

Also considered:

  • Displaying SpecValue - for reference without resetting
  • Editable dropdown - more compact

P.S. I have no formal design training, and I tend to overthink design, getting stuck not knowing what is best.


1 Answer 1



The color difference between first and second line is not enough. You should never use only color to transmit information because lot of people are one kind of color blind Wikipedia color blind.

Lot of design choice on color apply to bad reading condition think mobile, sunny area...

It's better to have extra text, really simple icon, even a star on the line, or something at least color blind proof like strong text.


  • You could merge Value and Custom columns. The important information is Default or Customized. So you could have only one combobox with Rubber Mallet (default), FiberGlass(option), Wood(option), Paper(option), R&D Polymer #5(User defined)
  • Another option if to make one column with information Default, Option, User specified. And the other column always displayed the name, and make it editable only for customized by user.
    • Column Type one of the 3 value (Default, Option, User specified) or 2 option (Default,Custom)
    • Column Value one of (Rubber Mallet,FiberGlass,Wood,Paper,R&D Polymer #5...) This column should be editable only if user defined/custom is set.

Filling vs reading

Maybe you should provide an interface dedicated to enter information, and a really reduced one only to display the choices. If user don't need the information all the times remove it, and provide a way for exceptional case to access the edition form.

Ask yourself questions on everything

Is it absolutely the best option to edit inside grid or a popup menu with more space to provide options like the more commons options or the 5 last customized...

  • Great suggestions! Clarification please: Columns Please elaborate. The first seems to contradict itself: could merge... could split. The second is confusing. Is the "one column" a dropdown with the following items: <DefaultValue>, <AltValue-1>, <AltValue-2>, ... <AltValue-n>, "User Specified" and the "other column" a textbox with the text value (and only editable for "User Specified"? Filling vs reading A parent interface has the values better laid out. An "Override" button will bring up this exceptional case interface.
    – Steven
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 18:10
  • @Steven did some edits hope it's better
    – ColdCat
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 21:36

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