So I am creating a layer list using d3 and I have a question about how best let the user select distances.

To give some background, the user will be selecting a geographic layer and will then be asked to select between 4 distances based on how far they think they are from the geographic feature based on a photo (Near, Far, Very Far, Distant). These distances will be the same for all of the layers. Currently, I've thought of two solutions, but I'm not sure which is a better approach or if there is something else entirely.

  1. The first would be create another level in the layer list and then let the user select from the dropped down options.


  1. Have a pop up window appear each time a layer is clicked that allows the user to select between the 4 options.

Which makes more sense? My initial thought would be the first option as it's less intrusive, but is there a reason to use a pop up? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  • Will you be showing different photo for different geo layer the user select? Are you planning to show photo inline or in a popup?
    – Chetan
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 16:28
  • The photo won't ever change. The user is given a photo on the right and a list of layers on the left. They then need to select the layers and how far they think they are based on the photo.
    – BDD
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 16:31
  • Is selecting between 4 distances the main and only purpose of click a geographic layer?
    – Serg
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 15:59
  • @Serg The layer click serves two purposes. The first is to add the layer to the map and the second is to give the user the drop down option with the distances.
    – BDD
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 13:02
  • @BDD I think that it is not so good to serve two purposes - it's not obvious. I think you have functionality to edit distance for already added layer. So, click is ADD LAYER action and then EDIT LAYER action should be used for setting distance - user will use the same functionality for the same action.
    – Serg
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


First approach of showing options in another child layer is better, since context is preserved or easy to understand, compared to showing the those 4 options in a popup(title of the popup may give the context, but not inline context).

For, first approach if the options are limited to only four it may be better to use ratio buttons instead of combo dropdown, which needs 2 click for a selection.

Assumption:- In case user is selecting several layers like a locality in a city in a country in a continent, then he has to handle 4 popups.

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