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I have a scenario where I need to show a user a list of items they own. This list may end up being quite long, but will typically be pretty short.

The list needs to allow people to select one or more items and perform one of two actions on them. The complication is that one of these actions can be performed on any combo of items but the other can only be performed on items that belong to the same group/category.

My question is what is the best way to allow the user to easily discover and perform these actions in a way that makes sense.

A little more info for clarity:

On the backend the items are grouped by the location they physically reside in. If a user selects items from a single location both action 1 and 2 can be performed on the items selected. If items from different locations are chosen, Action 1 is disabled and only Action 2 can be performed.

The problem I am having is that Sorting by location makes this distinction easy to understand. However that's not super helpful. The better way to sort the items for the user is by the most recent date. Which makes the location qualification harder to understand. Search or A-Z sorting isn't super helpful because the user will likely not be familiar with the item name.

Here is a simplified mock of the two scenarios:

Scenario A is sorted by location.

Scenario B is sorted by date.

Balsamiq drawing

Any creative ideas to solve this would be appreciated.

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Some ideas:

If you sort by date, can't you make "Location Group" visible as an attribute in the same way Item Name, Item Details, and Date are listed? That way the distinction is still present. Its hard to say one way or the other without more context.

I'm also not sure what flexibility you have yet at the wire frame stage, but you could also color code or iconify the concept so that the location groups are communicated visually.

  • Those are great suggestions. Each of the locations have logos associated with them and it's a business requirement that they be branded somehow. So more than likely each of the items will have the Logo near it or included with the image of the item. Speaking of color coding - one concept we were discussing today was actually pulling the most prominent color from the logo and adding it as a thin border on the left side of each item. Thanks for the input! – ORyan Feb 6 '15 at 3:38

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