How would you deal with selected-dependent inputs?

for example, for geolocation, when the user needs to provide information about location, he needs to select first the country, then the area (according to the country) and then the city (according to the country - area).

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Should the fields appear inactive or blank before 1st level selection?

  • Is there a reason why you don't hide them until they are applicable? – Matt Obee Jun 16 '14 at 14:57
  • Isn't it annoying when you select a field to appear a new one that you need to select and then appear a new one, and a new one? In my case, I have 4 mandatory depending fields. – Stevy Jun 16 '14 at 15:20
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    I'd call that "progressive disclosure". Hide unnecessary clutter until it's relevant to the user. – Matt Obee Jun 16 '14 at 15:24

It is okay to keep the drop down disabled, but in any case, the user should be conveyed by some means that the set of drop downs are linked together. You can think of putting them together, apply labels which tell you about the connectedness of the properties. With the modern design approaches, you can think of placeholder texts which are indicative as well.

User should not be left wondering what enables / disables any control.

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Have the dependent fields be inactive with "Select a first" as placeholder.

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