I am designing a new feature for a CMS my company uses. A few things you should know:

  • We have content editors working mainly on adding pages to the system. We have thousands of pages, and no one editor knows them all.
  • There are also categories, that group several pages.
  • We use aliases to fetch the right page or category for the end-user. Aliases must be unique! You can't use the same alias for 2 different objects (pages or categories).
  • Aliases are just one field on a form of with dozen other fields. Most of the time content editors fill out these entire forms dozens of times a day.

The feature I'm adding is a contextual message (ie. appears in real time, not after sending changes to the server) that appears when the user has typed in an alias that already exists on some other page.

This is what I currently have:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

I have a feeling that this feature has a few problem. Please help me fix them (or explain why they are not as problematic).

  1. Catching attention - I have a feeling that the message isn't prominent enough. Editors won't be able to submit the form without choosing one of these actions, but it's better to notice it before submitting.
  2. Options hierarchy - I'm afraid I'm offering too many options here, but all of them are possible. The first option will get selected most of the times, but we want editors to consider the three actions and choose the right choice. Is there a different way to present these which is more digestible but doesn't make the decision for the user?
  3. Layout - is there a better way to layout this message? I don't want to turn this into a modal element (will break their workflow too often). Also, take into account that there are other similar fields above and below. We're using Bootstrap, so I prefer solutions from there.
  • 3
    Interesting question, but I've never heard of tags being used in such a way - surely that breaks the whole concept of tagging - to find articles / items that share the same tag? If they have to be unique then that seems an unusual way of using them. Surely you'll run out of words - as you say there are thousands of pages already, each one has to have completely unique tags? Surely you're going to end up with tags called page7462 and other useless names.
    – JonW
    Jul 8, 2013 at 13:45
  • They are not actually called tags in our system. It's the closest concept I could think of that both conceals their true use and makes this question understandable for outsiders. Jul 8, 2013 at 14:05
  • Ah OK, fair enough. The concept itself is sound, it was just the terminology I was confused with there.
    – JonW
    Jul 8, 2013 at 14:11
  • Here, I changed the "tags" concept to make it more understandable hopefully. Jul 8, 2013 at 14:27

2 Answers 2


Catch attention by making error visually noticable among other controls with color (second option is less distractive for an eye but still visible):
enter image description here

Provide options hierarchy with primary and secondary actions:
enter image description here


My (second, I am removing my previous answer) suggestion is to provide a search box for the "aliases", as below:

enter image description here

Above, two states are shown:

  • a list of aliases assigned to the page/category
  • search field dropdown, where user can link an alias to the edited page/category - but only if it is not assigned to another page/category (in this situation, there is an information what page/category an alias is linked with).

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