I'm having to redesign this horrible thing, into a neat digestible form and workflow:

(I moved the picture after the main question because it's sooo long)

The (web) form is about providing meta data for research data and then uploading or linking the actual research data. It is based on ckan and grown over time, so the UX & UI on the individual fields can be improved a lot, but large amount of fields and info for the user to digest is still there.

My basic approach / idea for redesign is to break down the form into topics which belong together in terms of the scientific content, provide theses groups in digestible chunks and structure them as tabs / step similar was shown on the top.

Topic grouping:

  • Main info: title, description, keywords,
  • Who: Authors and main contact
  • About / Publication info: Publisher, Year, dates for collection & creation
  • State: Publication state (this sort of reflects the progress of the DOI creation), DOI, Visibility and Organization
  • Relations: Funding information, Related Datasets, Related Publications
  • Data: (content) License, Version, General (Data) Type, actual data / resource upload
  • Location: Location (free text), Spatial data
  • Custom Info: Key Value Pair info

I guess some of these can be argued, like if the whole state group should be merged with the publication info group.

So my main question is

How to provide a nice work flow design for so many groups?

ckan metadata creation form

Here follows the list of my thoughts and detail questions:

Tabs / Stepper

Is having 7 - 8 tabs is discouraging / dis-motivating?

At least is not a wall of text, but could the user leave some of the required fields out and in the end the validation would be done or does all the fields have to be valid once you continue to the next tab?

Wikipedia style collapsible sections

How about a Wikipedia style collapsible sections to fit more group on to one page, would be preferable to tabs? (Check the mobile wikipedia page)


Also a general workflow for the scientific user is to fill in some data to create a draft of sorts, they leave the visibility on "unpublished" which means only visible for themselves, and come back later to finished it up with all the info.

I guess providing a Wizard for step by step input and having a easy way to jump into a certain section for editing could be a thing?


What about a "directly-editing"? Each section can have a edit button so the users make changes it directly when seeing the entry. What's your opinion about such a UX?

Metadata entry view

1 Answer 1


There is not usually one correct answer when it comes to information architecture and then implementing this for the information that you want to display, and each will have their own pros and cons (not to mention design/implementation constraints).

So rather than saying which one is better, the first step is always to look at how you can reduce the cognitive load for the user. This can be done by reducing the amount of steps and information they have to provide (even if it is just upfront) by only asking for what is absolutely necessary.

The second step is look at what is the most ideal/common/frequent path through the information, and if it is all mandatory and sequential or if there are alternative paths to navigate through that will be easier for the user.

Once you have enough research or testing data on this, you can start formulating some design concepts to test further and validate your assumptions.

I think this is probably the safest bet if you want to come up with the optimal design solution.

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