I'm working on an application for storing complex Urology stone data and want to design and implement an interface that is natural and easy to use.

This is the data that needs to be collected for a kidney, uterus and bladder:

Location: right or left (only for kidney)

Region: mid pole, upper pole, lower pole (only for kidney, for uterus the regions are the same but without the word 'pole')

Description: lateral, medial, inferior, superior

All of the above data items apply to a single stone( there is more data but for brevity I have left it out)

The best interface I could come with is:

  1. display, location, region, and description in a row as drop down menus
  2. Have a single button called "add stone"
  3. Each time add stone is selected a new row gets added
  4. Against each row have a delete icon
  5. If uterus is selected as the location for a row dynamically change the region options to mid, upper and lower for that row
  6. If bladder selected as the location grey out region as it is not applicable for that row

Any help and advice would be much appreciated.

2 Answers 2


I'm not acquainted with the subject of matter, but it seems that the user usually enters data for more than one stone at the session, so you should pay an attention to it (make the process of entering data as fast and automative as possible).

The interface should allow to work only with keyboard or mouse (depends on need to enter text descriptions in other data items), and easily start entering data for the next stone right after adding previous

My suggestions are:

  • Make a form for adding data right above the list of stored stones (no modality).
  • Button "Save" should behave in a way that it immediately clears form and returns focus to selection of stone type (kidney, uterus or bladder) - I'd make it with radiobuttons.
  • Only data for selected type should be visible (less visual noise)
  • For mouse input — location, region & description fileds should be made with radiobuttons (to allow user simply click to a necessary item), but if keyboard input is more prefferable, it is better to use checkboxes (the user may press only one button to make the selection in focused element and then press Tab to move to the next).
  • Selection of the data in list of stored stones simply fills this form with data and changes button to "Save"
  • Delete icon should delete an item without promt, but the user should have the ability to undo it (for instance, the whole item gets gray with status "deleted" with the small link/button "undo")
  • Check tab-order for all form items
  • You are spot on! The user does enter data for more than one stone and there is a need to do it as fast and as accurately as possible. Thank you for the succinct and thorough response.
    – Imran Azad
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 8:22

My suggestion would be to use toggle buttons instead of drop down menus as you have limited options. It is better to see what's available up front as oppose to clicking through each drop down.

Also, adding a stone could be on a separate screen or in a modal window. That way you would have focus on a task of adding a stone and could put some effort into visual clues on why some thing is disabled when a particular option is selected.

Presenting the result (a list of stones) would benefit of being on a separate screen with and ability to filter the list. But that deserves a separate question.


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