I'm working on a screen where a table will be rendered based on the user's choice of "Country" and "Organization". Both these fields are interdependent and the user needs to have the ability to choose any of the fields first.

I have currently designed them both as dropdowns:

If org is selected first

If country is selected first


The problem with this is that there are a lot of validations that need to be taken care of. Eg - Say a user chooses Country as India first and then clicks on the Organization dropdown, Orgs that are not present in India need to be greyed out. In contrast, if the user chooses Organization as BMW first, and then clicks on country dropdown, countries that BMW isn't present in will need to be greyed out. This, I think would be confusing to some extent. What would a better approach to this problem be? To add to it, I have never encountered such an interaction anywhere else so I also think that it would not be very intuitive to a normal user. What am I missing here?

The use case is that the user needs to have the ability to:
a) See data of All Countries that org X is in
b) See data of All Orgs that Country Y has
c) See data of Org X in Country Y
d) See data of All Countries in All Orgs

2 Answers 2


One approach is to have the default filter set to the most common search, and have users be explicit about the starting dimension.

In the sketch below, I'm suggesting some friction up front aiming for more clarity about the dependent relationships. You could make them explicitly select the starting search:

  • By country (which then shows only the Orgs)
  • By organization (which then shows only the countries)

Since you need to display an option for all countries in all orgs, you can have an 'All' selection in the dropdown.

You can disable the second selector, to show the first clearly needs to be selected. Since the form is designed for a left-to-right audience, we see dependent filtering moving to the right, so your eyes don't have to look back.

You can use either radio buttons, or a label dropdown (which we chose for a similar situation in software I work on)

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  • Thanks, I had initially decided on something similar but the problem with this is that it's more of a "view as" feature on top of the page and not a part of a form and wouldn't fit in given space and layout constraints Sep 9, 2019 at 12:12

It looks like it should be a single drop-down multi-select list that contains only organisations with the related countries, e.g.:

Organisation and its Branch:

  • BMW (Germany)
  • BMW (France)
  • MBW (Italy)
  • Mercedes (India)
  • KTM (India)
  • ...

Two drop-downs seems excessive in this case.

If the user starts to type the name of the country, the suiting options should be shown, as well when the user types the name of the organisation - the related variations of the countries should be shown.

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