In my application, I have a dialog featuring a drop down menu, an "action" button and a "browse" button. The Browse button pops up another dialog which allows users to select the item on which they wish to act. If the action is successful, then the item gets stored as a "Recent Item", so that the next time the dialog loads, the drop down menu is pre-populated. The recent items behavior is just standard stuff - 10 items max, items getting bumped to the top if chosen again etc.

However, there is a new requirement to incorporate "Favourites" into the dialog somehow, and so I was hoping for some pointers on the best way to achieve this. Adding favourites seems straight-forward enough: there will be an "Add to Favourites" checkbox on the browse popup, but I'm not sure how best to present the favourites.

Should they be in the same drop down menu, but distinguished with e.g. a star icon? Or should there be two drop downs? Maybe drop-downs are the wrong way to go and both "Recent Items" and "Favourites" should be menu choices and the "current item" should just be a text label?

Any guidance on best practices in this area would be greatly appreciated!

Edit: Here's a wireframe of what I've currently got;enter image description here

  • Are you able to wireframe what you have already? I can't quite picture the interaction between the dialogs and dropdowns you described above.
    – Matt Obee
    Sep 12, 2012 at 8:15
  • @MattObee: I've added a wireframe to the post. I didn't include the "browser" dialog because I don't think that's relevant really. The dropdown in the picture above is solely populated by the result of the "Browse..." or by loading up the recent items from storage. Sep 12, 2012 at 8:38
  • Ah, I get you. Is there a limit on the number of favourites a user may have?
    – Matt Obee
    Sep 12, 2012 at 10:09
  • @MattObee: No limit on favourites - should have clarified that. Sep 12, 2012 at 10:27

1 Answer 1


My first thought was an additional dropdown or radio button but then felt this was over complicating it.

I believe the best way is to put the whole element in a tabbed view having one tab for 'Recent' and another for 'Favourites'.

If you are considering another method as well I would recommend testing both to see which users prefer.

  • You may want to play with the layout as having 'browse' in the tab may be unnecessary but without seeing it in context I can't tell. Hope this helps
    – Gareth
    Sep 12, 2012 at 8:57
  • I really like the idea of tabs - I hadn't considered those before. I'll give it a shot soon and see how well it works. Sep 12, 2012 at 10:30

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