On the site I'm working on, users will at some point have to assign a user as the manager for a particular resource. Let's make up a resource and a manager, just to illustrate what's going on here:

Bob is assigned the job of looking over the conference rooms and making sure the projectors are functioning, lights work, etc. In this scenario, when users go to book or use a conference room, it will list Bob's name and cell phone number so that if there is a problem, Bob can be contacted immediately.

Our current design to let the end users find the manager they want to contact is ugly: it's a big dropdown of all people managing that resource (there can be several) that updates a field for a phone number, email address, etc., not all of which a manager will have. It's an eyesore and not entirely friendly.

What's a good way to:

  1. Find the particular manager you're looking for (e.g. you know Bob is off work, let's call John instead; oh wait, both are off, who else is a manager?)
  2. Display information about that manager (e.g. phone number, email address)

Note: the resource we want to use / look at / etc. is known in advance, so we are not looking for all managers everywhere, only the ones assigned to our particular resource.

  • 2
    Show the work that you've done on it already and then ask a specific question on the point that you are stuck with. What you're asking is similar to "how should I design this car?" rather than something like "what problems should I be aware of when putting a 5.7l V8 into a mini cooper?"
    – JohnGB
    Nov 14, 2011 at 16:29
  • You've presented a pretty generic scenario that breaks down to "how should I display a list of choices". Like JohnGB says, that's too vague to offer suggestions. To get you started: what is the scope of the number of list items (min, max, avg), what characteristics (and in what priority) will users consider in choosing an item, what other data (not relevant to choosing) needs to be displayed?
    – TMiller
    Dec 8, 2011 at 20:19

1 Answer 1


Based on what information you have given it looks as though you know the name of the resource you are looking for. So to avoid having this huge drop down that you don't like you could have a predictive search... use the search tool at the top right on this website to see how it works [http://www.channel4.com/] - you can even include images of the resources in the predictive search results.

By tagging your resources comprehensively, users will be able to search using various terms - e.g the relevant manager is displayed in predictive search results when you search for either 'manager', 'name of conference room', 'name of manager (first and last), etc.

How you display the information about that resource shouldn't be too difficult. Look at how a contact on the iPhone is displayed.

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