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I'm trying to decide the best UI components to allow our user to perform a two step selection process in a map view. It feels like the action sheet is the appropriate UI element to use, but using one action sheet right after the other feels a little weird.

Here is the flow: The user presses the create button on the map, then selects one option from a list, and then immediately needs to select another option (the sub options change based on their first selection). Im currently thinking bringing up an action sheet, and then after the users makes a selection bringing up a second action sheet. Are there any better ways to handle this multiple selection other than using a full screen modal?

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  • Welcome to UX.SE! Please add a wireframe or a sketch of what this looks like in your head. It's hard to design without knowing what the options are (are they described by 2 words? 2 paragraphs? images? text?) and how each option relates to the 2nd sheet of options. Also it's unclear what happens after the user selects the 2nd option...does a modal open? does it return to the map? – tohster Mar 24 '15 at 2:27
  • Thanks for the response, I have edited the post to clarify. After making the 2nd selection the user is returned to the map. – Jay Mar 24 '15 at 15:20
  • Much clearer thanks. Would the user ever have to go from the 2nd sheet back the the first sheet? (back button) – tohster Mar 24 '15 at 16:32
  • Yes, the current idea is if they hit cancel on the 2nd action sheet the first one would come back up. – Jay Mar 24 '15 at 19:01
  • This is certainly not the regular usage of action sheets. You should ensure people recognize the relation between the two action sheets, for example using an animation effect. I don't know whether such animations are possible with action sheets. On the other hand, why don't you want to use the full-screen modal design? If you explain your reservations, you might get more helpful comments. – virtualnobi Mar 25 '15 at 8:37
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According to Apple, yes you're doing the right thing. I disagree.

For usability, using two action sheets does nothing but wastes time while providing the illusion of cleanliness. It manages this by keeping the map background and the animation of the action sheet disappearing and reappearing upon selection. Considering your selection type, I'd suggest bringing up a new view specifically to guide users into following the path of your choice so they answer the question they're trying to answer.

In other words, bring up an overlay view with the first set of options, the dissolve the unselected options and display the second set of options. Then either highlight the second selection and provide a confirm function or just continue after the selection (I recommend the former, in case of error). Also make sure that users can back up; I recommend an edit button by the top selection, which will bring back the original options and dissolve the 2nd set.

That'll be $20.

Action sheets can work in tandem with each other but they are...heavy. Users have the data of the page behind and now additional options. It's cognitively aggressive. Keep it simple: show your questions one at a time with available options so users can follow a simple path, all while seeing where they came from. By using two action sheets the user can't see what the last choice was (leading to potential user uncertainty and error) and still leaves the map in the background, which is totally unnecessary.

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