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I've recently published an Android app that is intended for use as a board game currency (think Monopoly etc.).

Because it is intended for multiple types of game, and because even within Monopoly the order of magnitude of transaction values can vary, I allow users to quickly choose multipliers of 10^6 and 10^3, to save typing the extra zeros.

One bit of feedback I've had from several users is that the way these options are presented is confusing. It has lead users to mistakenly send transfers of e.g. £2 when they meant to send £2M -- because they thought the 10^6 multiplier was selected when it wasn't.

I want to improve this bit of the UI but I have limited screen space to work with and am unsure what would be best.

The screenshot below is how it currently is. I show the current multiplier as either an M, K, or nothing at all to the right of the value field ("£2.4M" in the screenshot). The radio buttons to the far right are how it is changed. I should point out that unfortunately radio buttons in Android only allow the label to be shown to the right of the button itself.

How can I make the multiplier selection clearer without cluttering the layout?

screenshot of transfer dialog

  • Just to clarify, what is the range of the values used? You mentioned users sending £2 instead of £2M. Would users ever actually need to send such small amounts? – Midas Oct 29 '15 at 11:30
  • I only have the "Here and Now" edition of Monopoly, where all prices are either thousands or millions. However, in the classic edition(s) of Monopoly, most/all prices are below 1000 -- indeed, the initial capital that each player begins with is only 1500 of their currency. I want to support all types of game -- including things other than Monopoly, where users might need to send single units or even fractions of their currency. – dhpiggott Oct 29 '15 at 11:57
  • Could you add an option to select the game type? – Midas Oct 29 '15 at 12:04
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    I'd prefer to keep it as general as possible so that I'm not implicitly undertaking to maintain a database of every board game there is that might benefit from a smartphone currency system! However, modifying your idea slightly, I could have the creator of each game choose the multiplier just once during setup of the game, and then remove the option from the transfer dialog? I'd need to think about the right language to use when describing the option to game creators. "Value multiplier" might not be clear/doesn't sound quite right. – dhpiggott Oct 29 '15 at 12:27
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    I thought about that a bit more and unfortunately it wouldn't work because within the play of a single game users may need different value multipliers. So I think it does need to be an option within this dialog as per the original question. – dhpiggott Oct 29 '15 at 14:14
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I think you're over-complicating it. Typing a few digits then tapping the multiplier elsewhere on the screen takes a shift in focus and some amount of figuring out. You can avoid that by just letting users type in the entire number on just the numeric keypad.

You'll want to automatically add commas (or spaces or whatever the local divider is) to help with readability.

  • I do like this idea, thank you. I think I'll only know for sure what works best by actually trying ideas and seeing how they feel in real use. I will do that at some point in the next week. Thus, if it's OK, I'll defer accepting any answer until I've checked which feels most right when implemented. – dhpiggott Oct 30 '15 at 10:27
  • That's a great tactic, trying out different options. You might also have friends or coworkers use both too. Don't ask them for preferences; just observe what the differences are in their interactions with them. – Ken Mohnkern Nov 2 '15 at 14:22
  • I went ahead and did this, but with one tweak: if the value wouldn't be shown with a suffix (K/M/B/T/Q) elsewhere in the app, it shows exactly as you described. But if the value is large enough that elsewhere it will be shown with a suffix, I show that in brackets to the right of the input area. For example, entering 200: £200 But entering 15,000,000: £15,000,000 (£15M) – dhpiggott Nov 11 '15 at 10:23
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enter image description here

Excuse the rough mockup.

Something like this might fit then, the input field shows the upper limit of the money but can be used from anything from £1 to £999,999,999.

The greyed out numbers make it clearer to the user that it is only £2k rather than £2M. You could have a confirmation box as well if needed, but this should be clear of the exact amount that is being transferred.

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What about just adding another Dropdown-List?
I think it would make it easier for the user to understand what the selection does at all, because only seeing the letters M & K is pretty confusing.

enter image description here


Though it might be bad UX, since it is one more unnecessary click the user has to do every time. If you only have these 3 Options, just adding a line of radio buttons with actual text labels might be the best solution. The words thousand etc. might be exchanged for 000 and 000000.

That single line also does not add too much extra content on the screen.

enter image description here

  • I see merit to your second idea, thanks. My concern is screen space. This screenshot is from a Nexus 6, one of the larger Android phones. On smaller phones, there isn't room -- particularly as this dialog has an alternate layout for selecting multiple "to" destinations (there's a screenshot on Google Play but my link was removed). I think I'll only know for sure what works best by actually trying ideas and seeing how they feel in real use. I will do that at some point in the next week. Thus, if it's OK, I'll defer accepting any answer until I've checked which feels most right when implemented. – dhpiggott Oct 30 '15 at 10:38

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