I have a parent / children relationship table where the children have an action but given the fact that there could be up to ten children we want to allow a way to set the action from the parent level that propagates to children.

The parent itself does not have an action. The issue is that you can set the level from parent but you can also go at one children and change that and this is where I am looking for some help in how to portray that. Sketch to make everything clearer:

Step 1 - Everything is disabled. Step 2 - Turn the level to high to all of them. Step 3 Change the level to some of the soldiers.

Question: How should the Parent look after changing childrens values ? ( Note: Parent itself does not have a level but controls the level of childrens to allow bulk manipulation of childrens ) enter image description here

  • do I understand correctly that clicking the icon will change the level of an item and clicking on the parent icon does change the level of all children? Or should the icons only represent the level?
    – BrunoH
    Dec 14, 2021 at 10:38
  • Yes, clicking the icon changes the level of an item and clicking the icon of the parent affects only it's childrens ( the parent does not have a level itself. )
    – Chris
    Dec 14, 2021 at 13:40
  • Not an answer to your question, but I would recommend changing your icons to show levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 in a horizontal arrangement if the soldiers are arranged in a vertical list. This will help users scan quickly to see which bar "sticks out the farthest" from the rest. If the levels and soldiers are all arranged vertically, it's much harder to quickly scan and see which soldier is the highest level—the user has to slowly look soldier-by-soldier to more carefully inspect the level of each. Dec 14, 2021 at 14:51

2 Answers 2


I think you have a problem by using the icons to show the level AND to change the level. If I understand correctly each click on the icon adds (or removes) one level like a stepper.

This is not easy understandable but i suppose your users are aware of that mechanism. Having said so, i think the icons on the group should all look different as the icons for the soldiers. With the one in Step 3 you might have to reset all soldiers to one level and then start the stepping again.

enter image description here

  • I also think it's a semantic problem
    – Danielillo
    Dec 14, 2021 at 17:03
  • Highly advisable for this design: Add an undo option nearby the "all" button when it did change any individual value for a soldier. Take for example step 2: When the soldiers have different values, will clicking "all" result in 4 bars or 0 bars? The button doesn't communicate well what it means or does. Yes, it will require a try to know and there is nothing wrong with a little discoverability, but that also means that you should account for mistakes.
    – jazZRo
    Dec 15, 2021 at 8:17

It looks like putting a percentage controller at top would work well.

Changing the squad average percentage controller would increase or decrease the soldier levels and vice versa.


If user initially hits the 6th top button, the soldier levels are increased until the closest average to 60 percent:

enter image description here

If user then hit the level buttons on a couple individual soldiers, the squad percentage and buttons would reflect:

enter image description here

If user then hit the 7th top button to change to 70 percent, 1 soldier's level would be increased:

enter image description here

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