We are currently making improvements to the user interface of our real estate management web-app. One big problem we have is multiple, hierarchical selections for big amounts of data in input masks.
The data hierarchy in this example is: building > rental unit > room > tenant.
The example below is from an input mask for tenancy agreements. All fields are currently autocomplete lists. At the moment the typical work flow is:
(A) Select one or more buildings (out of up to 2000 entries!)
(B) Select one or more rental units (out of up to several hundred entries)
(C) Select one or more rooms (out of up to a few dozens )
(D, hidden in this screenshot) Select a tenant (usually just one)
Each selection the user makes narrows down the available data in the next autocomplete list. So, one problem is that users often seem to make multiple selections at once and from a big pile of entries at that.
The second problem is that the available data for input field "rental units" has already been narrowed down, but the user has no information about which building each rental unit belongs to etc.
Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of information about how our users currently interact with this mask.
Any thoughts are appreciated! Please let me know if the description above is too confusing.