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I have a brief where I have to build a system that helps engineers identify defects on a building site.

The engineer specifies where the defect is on a floor plan, what the issue is and invites another user to fix it.

enter image description here

This is a very simple concept.

But someone has thrown a spanner in the works: at any given point on the floor plan, there might be more than one issue associated with the point it is indicated in the floor plan. An example: a hole in the wall might require an electrician to fix the wires and a plasterer to fill the hole.

But I don't know how to display this; I really like the concept of one point, one issue because it keeps everything simple and it is still the main use case.

The site manager will want to raise more than one issue at a point at the same time, so the interface needs to legislate for this too.

My question

1)What would be the best way of displaying multiple issues at one point on the map? What would be the best way of defining multiple issues at one point on the map? Can this be done without complicating the main use case?

2)Is there a standard pattern for creating multiple issues at one point? If you look at my wireframe I think it would be something like having a link saying 'add another issue at this point'.

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How about the same circles but with numbers inside dictating the number of issues for that spot, you could provide an instant visual indicator of the types of jobs by colouring the circle:

Red = Electrician Orange = Plasterer

Possible downsides, multiple jobs and states say plumber, plasterer, electrician and painter may produce as busy circle.

The numbers in the circles is still a good suggestion.

Colour coded, number of jobs per point

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    If you find yourself with more than 3 jobs in the same spot frequently than I would just put the number and make the dot a drop down menu when clicked otherwise this solution could work. – DaveAlger Mar 27 '15 at 11:42
  • its a nice idea but there are many different job type. I'm playing with the idea of filters on the display too – colmcq Mar 27 '15 at 11:46
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    I think this would work better as a "pie chart" where half is red, half is orange, but they're the same ring. Supposedly, then, you could show quite a bit of job types before it would become unintelligible. – Seiyria Mar 27 '15 at 14:01
  • I did think about that Seiyria - didn't have time to mock it in Balsamiq! – DarrylGodden Mar 27 '15 at 14:27
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The case you are describing is still one issue, but the workflow to address the issue requires more than one person.

However, there are cases in a building where there could be multiple issues that require one or more people to address.

Color-coding by trade might become really cumbersome. Using color to indicate the severity of the defect (if that's important to the brief) would make more sense, and adding a number inside the circle (or a numerical baloon attached to the side of the circle, like many apps do now to indicate waiting actions/messages/etc) is a very good idea.

Adding an "Add Issue at this location" (Or "Add Issue") button beneath the "Add User" button wouldn't complicate the UI very much.

I don't know if you are developing something for wide commercial use, but I can see municipal building inspectors using this app to generate a report for both the municipality and the property owner.

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    nice answer. And really logical. – colmcq Mar 27 '15 at 13:30
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Can you put a the number of issues in the circle, and show a list to select from when it is clicked?

If there is only one issue on that location, you could put that issue at the top, and a second "add new issue" option under it.

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    I've gone for that: circle with number>list>select>view issue – colmcq Mar 30 '15 at 11:19
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I'm imagining the issue is in an inset window but it doesn't much matter. Add a bar at bottom of issue presenter that says like "3 more issues". This bar should not be to narrow in height. When user clicks the bar the issue window becomes a list that gives the names of the probs or maybe the name and user depending on whether that seems more simple-minded. Click on list-name returns that issue to the window. Plus, this sort of behavior is typical.

I like your cute UI.

  • I aim to make things as simple as possible! tx for your answer – colmcq Apr 1 '15 at 9:42
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I have recently answered a question about displaying machine state in a manufacturing site and I think your issue is similar to an extent.

enter image description here

The workflow in the example above is more focused on knowing the type and severity of an issue and locating it on a map. In your case the workflow seems to be more complex. With that in mind, I would still preserve the two views in the example above and add an additional view/page:

  • Filters for finding defects and prioritising actions
  • Building Plan to locate and add new issues with additional details
  • A dedicated page to add details to identified issues.

The rationale behind creating a third view is to spread functionality in a more efficient and clear manner while also avoiding overloading the building map with too many task. This will allow you to streamline the defect capturing process and allow your users to "tag" them more easily. Information captured could then feed into the filtering process for better findability and action taking.

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