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I am building an interface where users will type certain things and they will get details on them. To get details users will have to select from three types of dropdowns or they can even choose from the search box given. All the dropdowns are mutually exclusive and users can only use data from one of the dropdowns/search boxes below. So if a user wants details they can either choose from dropdown option 1, dropdown option 2, dropdown option 3 or the search box (as given in. the image below) How can I represent this in a cleaner way without confusing the users?

P.S. I have given image for reference. P.P.S.TIA

enter image description here

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  • Can they use one dropdown AND the search box? Feb 17, 2023 at 22:55
  • No that is mutually exclusive too. They can wither use the dropdown or use the search box. Feb 20, 2023 at 6:01

2 Answers 2

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If these options are mutually exclusive you would need to allow users to prevent errors. So when choosing from Option 1 (let’s call those Category), all other should probably be disabled.

Developers and users will need to manage that dependence, which is a bit much.

So how about Two dropdowns?

  • First choose the Category, then choose the option
  • Initially, the Category could be Text search, showing the search field

If this is useful depends—as always—on the types of tasks users try to accomplish with this interface.

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...All the [options] are mutually exclusive...

For exclusive options, standard radio buttons work well:

radio options

Unselected options are disabled to make clear they're not available for selection.

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