I am working on an application where I have to ask customers for input. Categories are on the left side of the page. Inside one category user needs to fill the details of multiple items. User will be prompted with items 1, he fills the details, he can select 'Use same configuration for all items' if he wants to reflect same info across.

I have save and exit button which will save the data and exit from the journey.**Next ** button will take the user into next category not the next items

So the question is how do I save data for item 1? Do I need to show a message when user selects item 2 from the Drop down? Or just auto save the info and prompt the message when a user selects another item?

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  • so...Items are children of a Category? How many items could there be in a category? what's the maximum?
    – Mike M
    Jun 25, 2020 at 13:37
  • Yes, there could be around 25 max.
    – UXbychoice
    Jun 26, 2020 at 5:35

1 Answer 1


Be clear with categorical navigation, and expose the items ('children') that are being modified.

One issue that seems unclear is that there can be n items under each category, but it's hidden in a dropdown, so I have to remember:

  • how many items there are
  • which have been modified
  • how far along am I in my work for the category

What ends up happening is I'm potentially modifying n items within a category, and traversing and saving across multiple categories. Flatten the child items.

Build on common navigation patterns for this step through

Since you potential navigate two dimensions, take advantage of global vs contextual nav patterns common to many websites.

enter image description here

By exposing the items as children of the category, you can:

  • show them how many
  • indicate when an items configuration has been modified
  • indicate the current item they are editing

Try being explicit with the Next button. Indicate it will save the categories' items, and move them forward.

By keeping the items exposed, and using change indicators (see mock), you'll reveal which items are modified. Then, when you either Save & Exit > or Save & Continue > the whole batch is saved.

If need be, you can prompt a progress indicator which says which items are processing. It's intentional extra friction, but a tradeoff for clarity if you have high cardinality at the item level. I don't know your use case, so it might not apply.

  • that sounds like something that could work...The main thing is visibility of all items, and showing modifications
    – Mike M
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:01
  • Thanks Mike. I got an idea after looking at your mock:) I can have multiple Spices under spice category and items can be max to 25. So, I am thinking to put a nested category under spice on the left side and same will be available in dropdown. Will mark the left sub category to show if it is visited or not, something like a tick box and will collapse it if a user is in that category. I believe it will be clear about the user's position and how many items are left. Question is : how to save spice 1 under spices category as ''save and continue'' will take user to next category(sauce)
    – UXbychoice
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:01
  • so..let me see if i understand: 1 category, multiple items, with nested items under each item?
    – Mike M
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:02
  • No, sorry for confusion. For e.g. Spice category can have multiple items like Black pepper, Cumin, Coriander etc. and they have same configurations
    – UXbychoice
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:07
  • That's why I was proposing a left side list with all items, i guess in this case similar to a tree. It will show with an indicator (tick mark) what's been modified. I distinguish modified from visited, as that's what's going to change when you either Save & Exit, or Save and Continue. Does that make sense?
    – Mike M
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:13

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