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I'm trying to decide the best control and UI indicators to provide to users performing bulk functionality on a group of users in a grid.

I'm trying to approach this two different ways. The first is to have the "select all" checkbox in the header, that contains a list of functionality a user can perform to the users selected. My only issue with this method is that you don't have to select all to be able to perform the function. You could select 1, 2 or 10 items and still perform the functions.

The way I'd prefer to do this is by showing a drop-down menu that has the functions. Users select the option they want to perform on the users and click a "do it" button. My issue with this is more of a placement one. How do I get the functionality of the drop down and the checkboxes to appear to the user that they go together.

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This a common UI pattern that most users will likely get as long as you adhere to the expected pattern.

  • Visually highlight selected items so they are clearly in play. The checkbox itself is an indicator, but commonly the row is given a background color or other visual emphasis.

  • Place the action menu (or bar, depending on real estate, logical grouping, etc.) right at the top of the list or grid. If the list can get very long, consider "freezing" this top area when the user scrolls down.

  • Skip the "Do it" button - make the actions trigger when they are selected.

For reference, here's how the big G does it: enter image description here

(I thought about snipping out the "sponsored link" but I kind of like it as an example of the compromises made in the name of the business model.)

  • off-topic: sponsored links can be disabled in preferences – Naoise Golden Dec 28 '11 at 10:17
  • @Naoise Golden indeed. I wonder if web clips wasn't actually about revenue but about trying to keep your eyeballs in the app... thanks for the tip! – peteorpeter Dec 28 '11 at 16:02

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