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I'm designing an interface used to configure a product catalogue. There are packages with sections, groups, sub-groups, products, prices and tariffs.

The current implementation uses a classic tree structure like:

  • Package 1
    • Section 1.1
      • Group A
        • Product A1
          • Charge X
          • Charge Y
        • Product A2
    • Section 2.1
      ...

But the PM thinks is not intuitive enough. He would prefer something more "graphical", like: enter image description here

but I'm not sure it would be practical when the package (or a catalogue) can have many dependants.

  • 2
    Why is the PM making comments like this? Isn't that for you and the client to decide on? – JonW Aug 3 '15 at 10:43
  • I've had this experience before where people who have no design background (when I say this I mean 0 design skills) try to give input just so their job is justified. It sucks but it also happens. – Majo0od Aug 3 '15 at 12:06
  • @JonW it's an internal project. The PM is kind of the client here... – algiogia Aug 3 '15 at 12:51
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Using a flowchart as shown would indeed become quite unwieldily wide, but you can definitely turn a simple bullet list in to something more graphical.

For instance, if you have a maximum depth of about 5 or 6 (like in your tree example) putting it all in a horizontally orientated flow chart would already save a lot of space due to the horizontal nature of text: enter image description here

And even if you keep the exact same layout from the tree structure, you could add icons and colors to convey information. For example, putting a $ instead of a bullet in front of prices. And by using light/dark/light/dark background for product 1/2/3/4. Giving each section or group a different hue. Or by having all categorization be one color, and the products be another.

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This question is an opinion because it depends on your specific requirements. There is no one right answer.

The best advice I can give you is to look up examples of product catalogues and create a version that works for your requirements. Here is an example of a WP product catalog plug-in. http://www.etoilewebdesign.com/ultimate-product-catalogue-demo/

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