I am modifying a web application that manages services (residence and others) for elderly people.

At a couple of times, the place of birth / place of residence must be selected, and the previous user chose this approach.

Current situation

All fields are alphabetically ordered.

The issue is, most of people is from/lives in my country, and province. Worse yet, the only provinces from my country may be selected, and only towns from my province (if you chose a different country in Country, you must chose other in the other two select; if you select my country but a different province, you must chose other in the Town select).

My first idea was just swap the order of the select; you first may select a town, with an option for Other province which would activate the Province select and an option for Other country which would activate the Country select.

Alternatively, I was thinking of mixing all of the data in just one tree, with my country and province options already expanded at startup.

My first option

In order to make it shorter, I considered also a variation:

Another alternative

However, I doubt if it is a change too great and maybe I should stick to just switching the order or fields, specially since the current selects filter by keyboard input (if you type "FRA" it will restrict the list to "France") and the tree will not have this behavior.

As a third option, I was thinking of just using a select and mix all "leaf" items in the same list. It would be less clear to the user if he browses all the items, but could be more effective if he types the filter (in effect, making it behave more like a search field with predictive input than a select field).

As a secondary question, if I go with the tree: should I put the Capital City (and biggest city of my province) the first or should I leave it at the position assigned due to alphabetic ordering).

Some data that may be relevant:

  • 242 Countries in DB
  • 55 Provinces
  • 69 Towns


Sorry for not stating that before, but I am spending so much time with this application that sometimes I forget that the rest of the world does not use it... The application is a webapp in our intranet, used by the workers of my organization that register the data from my organization final users.

1 Answer 1


The key for this problem is that most of users lives in your country, and province. So you have to make location selection for majority as easy as possible.

How about this one:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Not to mention you can guess user location using GeoIP, and ask whether you guess is right.

  • Thanks for your help, +1. Sorry for not mentioning it before, but the webapp is an intranet application (so, the workers from my organization are the ones inputting the data for the final users), so GeoIP is not a viable option.
    – SJuan76
    Jun 3, 2014 at 16:02
  • As for the rest of your answer, a question:would the "expanded" list/table of towns be complete (for the province), or only the biggest/most used? I have to check how many space I would need, but I would prefer showing all of them instead that just a few (and if the user has to select another town, force him to look for it somewhere else, v.g. the search box). Under that I would put either two comboboxes (one for province and the other for countries) or just a searchbox. Am I understanding correctly your proposal?
    – SJuan76
    Jun 3, 2014 at 16:22
  • 1. Depends of a number of towns, 70 looks a lot for a single list. ~20 for a list is OK. You can use two columns to display it. Also, you have to consider average age of workers, younger workers can easily understand UI, older ones may have difficulties. Jun 3, 2014 at 18:41
  • 2. Right. When it comes to "other" location and searchbox, one thought come to me on a way home: if you have several countries, foreign workers may start to search on their native language, and that won't work (pros for having selects). Jun 3, 2014 at 18:48

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