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For this application I am designing, we need to add one or many items to a grid. We have chosen to add the items via a modal dialog due to complexity in certain scenarios that would not be possible using inline adding (we do, however, allow the user to edit the most commonly edited fields inline).

The user may only want to add one item, or many, and I am trying to design the most usable modal pattern that will enable them to do this. Our current design works the same way as the Create Issue modal in Jira, i.e. toggle the 'Create Another' checkbox before you click 'Create'.

Create Another

I am not a huge fan of this design because:

  1. It requires the user to remember to check the box.
  2. It feels like too much effort when the user only wants to add 2 items. As such, we are finding that users are ignoring the box, clicking 'Add' which closes the modal, and then clicking 'Add Item' again to bring up the modal a second time. This design is extremely irritating if you are only adding 2 because you have to check the box, then click Create, and then (if the checkbox remains checked), uncheck the checkbox in order to add the second item and close the modal.
  3. There is ambiguity among the team as to whether, after enabling the checkbox and clicking Create, the checkbox should still be checked. I am of the opinion that this depends on the type of item they are adding (as in our system, there are many different types) and how frequently they would add more than 2 items. But if all the modals worked differently, the user would never know what to expect.

I have another design which looks like the below (anonymised accordingly). This would let the user click Add Item once they have finished filling in the fields. Clicking Add Item would add the item to the grid (and also provide feedback in a message box that this had taken place) and leave the modal open with blank fields to allow the user to add a second one. They could add as many as they wish, after which, they would click Finish. This design also has a Summary tab which would allow them to review all the items they have added. (But this may be overkill for certain items types).

The strange thing about this design though, is that the Finish button would essentially do the same thing as the Cancel button (unless we used Finish to persist all of the items in the Summary tab to the grid at once, but I am hesitant to do this as the user may lose their work). But without the Finish button, it would not be clear that you could add multiple items before clicking Finish.

Does anyone have any improvements to this design or any notes on best practice for adding multiple items through a modal?

enter image description here

Thanks, Amy

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    What is driving the desire to have this feature? Is it user feedback with them saying they need to be able to create multiple items quickly? – tonytrucco Aug 24 '15 at 14:23
  • You're worried about users who miss the check box (shown at the bottom of your first illustration), but if it's left clear, and the dialog box closes, the cost of clicking Add to re-open it again is minimal. It's still one click; just the timing and location differs. And you could argue that repeating a known workflow is simpler to grasp than changing the function of the Create button via a check box. – JeromeR Aug 25 '15 at 11:25
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The user may be completely missing the checkbox and text, since it fades into the footer of your modal. There is nothing calling attention to it. I would try two distinct buttons for saving: "Save and Add Another" and "Save and Close" (or just "Save").

  • A note from experience with this solution: make sure that one of these 2 stands out as the standard/ default option. When we built something similar with originally 2 buttons of equal visual weight, users gave us the feedback that they found it really confusing to have 2 defaults. In our case, we made "Save and Close" the highlighted default attention grabbing option, and the "Save and Another" the secondary option. Made our users much happier. (but your mileage may vary ;) – wintvelt Nov 27 '15 at 22:36
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How about one tab for each object you want to create?

batch editor

  • Could definitely work for some of the more complex items, thanks! – Amy Sep 3 '15 at 13:49

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