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Context:

  • A student registration form with 10 fields, where 4 is dropdown.
  • Dropdown option for example; university is empty unless you register the university first in the university registration form
  • Other dropdown fields in the form such as supervisor, hostel that needs to be registered first before option is available.

Question

  • When an institution starts using an application system where nothing is registered yet, how will this appears on the screen when admin goes to student registration form?

Option

  1. Just show the form with the dropdown having 'no option available' so when the form is not complete they cant submit anyways
  2. Have an error message at the top stating Dropdown 1, 2, 3, 4 is empty, please register them first

Option 1 is simpler but admins need to go through the form and look for things that they need to register first.

2

You have at least three complex and independent entities: Student, University, Hostel. Even if the database isn't empty, there are cases when some university or hostel isn't registered yet. And you'll face an issue again.

My suggestion is to allow creation of the entities "on the fly", when admin fills the Student form. So, the main flow is Student registration, and subflow is Hostel/University creation. You can use a special modal dialog, see the wireframe:
enter image description here

Pros:

  1. A user starts with a main flow (Student registration)
  2. A user creates related entity when needed, on the fly
  3. A user stays in the context of the parent flow and can easily return to it

This is a perfect example of how domain influences design decisions.

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