Imagine you have a list of items that you want to categorize, or in some way associate with another piece of data.

For example, you have a list of items, and you would like to have them associated with their categories.

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One idea I had was to have the groupings off to the left, and you could drag and drop the item onto the appropriate grouping and it would then add the item to the listing.

For example:

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Then you end up with this:

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But is this the best way? Is there a better way?


Direct manipulation works good with small number of items. Though in your solution it is not implemented completely. As dragged item returns back on the place after dropping, it could be perceived as non-allowed manipulation. So there is bad feedback. Also you have a very small target area. It requires too much control over movenemts, which could be too exhaustive.

I propose different way.
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Again, it works well with small amount of items, as involves a lot of physical movements and limited by one item on a time. For a large number of items the best way is to perform operations over a group of items.

  • Nice! It should also be possible to select multiple elements and drag them all at once! – stefan.s Oct 11 '13 at 10:25

A 2 column table with the items in the left column and a drop down of categories in the right column.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

I think such a system could be faster and easier to operate than a drag/drop based system. It's also more self explanatory.

  • Hi @obelia thanks for the suggestion. The problem I have with this standard approach is that it requires a click, a search/scroll, and then another click to select. I want to make this as efficient as possible. – richard Oct 10 '13 at 23:46
  • Another idea I had was to have an empty box where they can start typing a category and auto-find/auto-complete will help them (similar to google's search). – richard Oct 10 '13 at 23:49

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