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I have a form for a meeting room booking app, similar to a calendar/scheduling app. The user needs to choose:

  • One room
  • None, one or many assets (projectors, whiteboards, etc)

I am having some trouble trying to figure out what's the best instruction to label the Assets list box. Some ideas I've thought of but don't quite really like:

  1. Select one or more assets to book
  2. Select any assets to book
  3. Select the assets to book
  4. Select one or more assets to book (optional)
  5. Select assets to book (optional)

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

In case it's relevant, the Assets list box is multi-selectable, but it does not require holding Shift or Control, meaning the user just needs to click to select, and click again to unselect an item.

What would be a good way to label this field, or suggestions to rework other parts of the form to make it clearer that one is a single-select and the other is a multi-select?

  • I don't like the heading of "What Assets?" because it's an incomplete sentence that comes off as rude. Either make all the headings one word (Time, Place, Assets) or make it something like "Do you need any equipment?" because it's more polite and has a more clear "no" answer. – Perchik Jun 5 '14 at 13:28
  • @Perchik thanks for the reminder about politeness to the user, but more importantly the fact that your suggestion has a clear "no" answer would make it clearer that the user could choose to not select any assets. – jingtao Jun 9 '14 at 1:54
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As a general rule, most users do not read, or just skim the instructions, believing they already know what is written.

Whether you can select one or multiple items should be understandable by the widget visuals alone. Lists are usually only used for single selections, and multiple selection lists are awkward at best.

I would suggest using check boxes to make clear that multiple options are selectable.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

You can integrate the checkboxes in whatever way you want into your design, important is just the association. Alternatively you can also use +/- symbols which have a similar connection.

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enter image description here

A few suggestions, followed by a question:

Suggestions: 1. Consider dropping punctuation in the UI. Especially the question marks. 2. Consider dropping the instructional text. 2. Using red and green gives the impression of an OK state (greed) and an error state (red). 4. Small change suggested to the tooltip wording.

Question: Can the Dell Projector in the 25th floor conference room be selected for a meeting in Meeting Room 1?

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  • I'd assume your last question should be handled by the developers and program logic (maybe when you select a room, it updates the available equipment) – Perchik Jun 5 '14 at 15:24
  • Good point and I could have better worded my question. Is it OK to move equipment between rooms when needed for a meeting? – Brian Jun 5 '14 at 15:36
  • Regarding the question... yes you can choose to book equipment from a different room (you can borrow the projector from the other room and, hopefully, put it back when you're done). – jingtao Jun 9 '14 at 1:59
  • @Brian thanks for the suggestions - I'm still quite new to this and your suggestions are really helpful. With the colours which I used in the original mockup, though not related to the original question, I am planning to use them to indicate which room/equipment is available for the meeting times chosen by the user (similar to the online/busy indicators in instant messaging apps) – jingtao Jun 9 '14 at 2:01
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I think "Select one or more assets to book" is fine, the other option would be something along the lines of changing the word "asset"

Do you require any other [or further] equipment?

If yes, please select below

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For enforcing the selection of a single item, typically you'd use something like a radio button, whereas when multiple items can be selected from the same list then you'd use a checkbox.

However perhaps having some visual queue as to whether it's a 'radio button' selection (typically often a circle with a dot when selected) or a 'check box' (typically a square with a tick when selected)

Checkbox and Radio button example

Of course there are exceptions to this, for example list boxes with multiple selection, and the default radio buttons / check boxes might not fit with the feel of your UI, but it's worth considering how you might incorporate this.

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