I have more than 20 dropdown(select) menus in my Rails application.

For example see the below image,

enter image description here

The plus button next to Contact Type drop down will help the admin(and other users with the right permissions) add options to this select box, on the go. If you click on the plus button, the box below will open and you can start adding options.

This reflects in the database, meaning everyone else would start seeing this option in their Contact Type dropdown.

Also, I have a separate "configuration" page, where Contact Type's name, description can be edited and new Contact Types can be created.


My UI thinks, if only the admin(and other users with the right permissions) is going to add options to the dropdown, why have a plus button there. Remove it. If anyone wants to add options, they can goto the configuration page and add it. This is not a good UX.

How do I argue with him?

  • WTF... no one wants to answer this???
    – beck03076
    Jan 21, 2014 at 8:51
  • 3
    This isn't an instant support service website, it's a Q&A website. Answers can and will come in time. Don't expect a solution within 1 hour of asking. Especially as it's not even 10am UTC so half of the world hasn't even seen this post yet.
    – JonW
    Jan 21, 2014 at 9:52
  • Could you elaborate on why you think it's a good idea to edit the content inside the form? And why editing the content of a form shouldn't be limited to a configuration view of the content? Jan 21, 2014 at 9:55
  • @AndroidHustle: I think the admin or the rightful user will have more "ease of access" if this was in-form. Instead of going to another place, adding an option and coming back here to check if its added, its all here in one place. But again, a deeper part of me, also thinks, its a little unnecessary. I dont know.
    – beck03076
    Jan 21, 2014 at 10:46

2 Answers 2


I don't like the way you've placed the (+) next to the drop-down UI. It confuses me, I don't know if it adds a new drop-down UI to the form or adds list entries into the existing drop-down UI. That said a drop-down UI is made of 2 UI components 1. a button 2. a list. The button toggles the list into and out of view.

Assuming I figure out its the latter, do you really expect me or someone to click that (+) 20 times to add 20 options to the list? that's like 20 x 3 if I wanted to add a description along with the entries.

Here's something you might be interested in, with this you can show the current entries in the model dialog and let the user delete items from the list as well.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • Its an amazing method that you suggested. Thanks. Pertaining to the current situation, it gives me the sad when I think about you havent considered the configuration page in your solution. Simple question. Should this be on the FORM or in a separate place(configuration page) where admin/authorized users can add/edit/delete it?????
    – beck03076
    Jan 21, 2014 at 15:20
  • Best keep it in the form, but on the admin/configuration page. This way they'd know what they are editing. Its easier to coordinate.
    – Rayraegah
    Jan 21, 2014 at 15:25
  • The idea is, if I see it and feel like editing it - I should be able it to edit it right there. Don't force the admin user to navigate to another page / scroll up and down.
    – Rayraegah
    Jan 21, 2014 at 15:28

Users don't like to backtrack. Think about what scenario this presents:

  1. User scrolls down page to option that needs to be selected.
  2. User wants to add an option.

At that point, if you leave out the "+" button, the steps are

  1. User scrolls back up to whatever navigation is available and finds the configuration page,
  2. finds option, clicks whatever UI element is required to add it,
  3. enters data,
  4. finds and chooses "save data" (optional),
  5. returns to original page,
  6. reenters all the old data again (new page request) and continues with work.

If, however, you include the "+" button, the experience is

  1. User clicks "+" button,
  2. enters data,
  3. clicks "save", continues with work

You're adding navigation and data reentry into the process. This is never a good thing.

  • Its a good scenario, but what about places where only admin can add options to the dropdown. Do you think, it makes sense, in that case??
    – beck03076
    Jan 21, 2014 at 13:24
  • If it's just an admin, the scenario would be vastly different. Chances are the requests for additions would come directly to the admin from a user, in which case the quickest way to add things would be going directly to the configuration page. I was going at it from the privileged users' perspective. The bottom line is that having both, in my opinion, is best.
    – wtfsven
    Jan 21, 2014 at 14:07

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