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I'm working on an application where the user is shown a map with some data on it. In mapping, there are different ways to classify the data, so the client would like to give the user the ability to change the classification scheme to show a different story in the data and they'd like it to be incorporated into their already created settings panel.

The current settings panel looks something like this:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

I have lots of space to work with as the task doesn't require much room at all. I would like to include some sort of description on how each classification scheme works as the users might not know.

I was thinking of doing something like this to fill the empty space, but I'm not sure if this is the correct way to move forward:

mockup

download bmml source

Question

Should I try to fill the empty space with something or will it be fine to have just radio buttons and blank space?

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    My 2-cents, I always go with the"only show what is absolutely necessary" mindset. If you're filling space just to fill it then that stuff is unnecessary. Although I do prefer minimalist type sites so I may be biased. – DasBeasto Sep 24 '15 at 15:02
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    I agree with DasBeasto. It's a simple principle of showing what the user needs. Anything more will simply make it friendlier. You could, however, concentrate on the visual appeal of the page since you have a lot of empty space to work with. – Swapnil Borkar Sep 24 '15 at 15:11
  • how useful is the information that is inside the text area and how often will it be used by the users? – Alejandro Veltri Sep 24 '15 at 21:17
  • It is not answer of your question, but I would use drop down select element beside the title "classification methods" instead of radio buttons, and would make the map bigger. – Patriks Sep 30 '15 at 2:57
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Adding things just to fill in space can lead to an increase in the user's cognitive workload, thereby making it harder for them to recognize what they're looking for, absorb information, or take an action.

With that in mind, I would recommend you group your radio buttons closer and left align the title with the description box, like the example below.

Redesigned mockup

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If you are bothered by the empty space you can also put the radio button on top of the description.

You don't have to fill all empty space though, it all depends on the design and the rest of the panels. I like the idea of a description box, but would that be consistent with the rest of the settings panel?

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