Kind of confusing title, but basically I am designing something that allows for the max of 20 total connections. There are two types of connections, main and guest. As you can see, I am using a simple drop down to let the user decide how much of each connection they want:

enter image description here

Basically, the total main + guest connection has to be less than 20. Currently, I have it set up so that when a user selects the main wifi #, the guest connection dropdown options automatically calculates the max number they can have (Ex. If main connection was 5, the options under the guest dropdown menu would render 1-15). My problem is about the behavior/user expectation when they are changing these values. For example, when a user is maxed out at 20 connections (5 main, 15 guest), and they want to add another guest connection, they would have to reduce main to 4 and then increase guest to 16. How can I inform the user that they have a certain number of connections available and will need to edit the main connection in order to increase the guest? I thought about using a slider, but since the maximum value can be anywhere from 1-20, I don't think it would be beneficial.

  • Why not automatically reduce the Main to 4 when the user sets Guest to 16? Jan 20, 2023 at 23:21
  • @bloodyKnuckles I'm not sure automatically changing the values is the best idea because the user may not notice that the main connection got reduced. The user might change the guest to 16, but if they knew that the main would reduce to 4 they might want to keep the 15/5 ratio instead. I want to make it clear that the user knows the max is 20 and let them decide exactly what values they want.
    – Gene
    Jan 21, 2023 at 0:20
  • Yes, it's important to communicate to the user, whhether they are changing the Main or the Guest, that the other is affected by the change. Jan 21, 2023 at 1:27

1 Answer 1


Show them a total so they see the feedback of their actions as they select.

Since there's a total that's fixed, save them the math, and display it. Forgive the crappy graphic design, but here's a rough sketch w/ some helper text to explain both the total, and where they are in the number of available connections left as they add the values

enter image description here

Control choices:

You could also experiment with just a number input rather than a dropdown, and rely on inline validation if they go over the number. It could save effort if it's clear what the limits are.

  • 1
    I was actually working on a very similar concept as you commented this. I think this is the way I am going to go, so thank you for confirming my idea!
    – Gene
    Jan 20, 2023 at 22:54
  • Agreed about using number input for numbers. Jan 20, 2023 at 23:02

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