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I just found below drop down for showing priority levels in JIRA:

Priority Levels

Does the above drop down - with icons and supporting message clearly demonstrates the priority levels?

If not, then what will be the better way to show priority levels consisting of 5 levels.

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    Yes it does :). Source: observation of dozens of developers and QA people who are passionately in love with JIRA. – Vitaly Mijiritsky Nov 9 '15 at 8:16
  • How you contextualize the meaning of each level may be different than how you solicit form selection. Here's drupal's docs on the meaning of each priority level with examples for each tier. They're really helpful, but probably wouldn't fit inline on a form. Most people will be able to select from an ordered priority list, but it's your job to communicate with your users and define the difference between blocker and major. Perhaps choose better copy, but the interaction metaphor is fine. – KyleMit Aug 29 at 13:49
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Does the above drop down - with icons and supporting message clearly demonstrates the priority levels?

Actually you do not have icons and supporting message because icons are supporting text message: icons alone are not clear enough to live without text.

In general icons need more active brain activity to be decodified than plain text unless it's a trivial standing-out symbol. Five icons with pretty arbitrary symbols aren't trivial enough and they're more decorative than useful.

If not, then what will be the better way to show priority levels consisting of 5 levels.

Drop icons and leave text. If context knowledge isn't enough to be sure users will understand what priority means then add some help. Five symbols are too many to be quickly recognized and scanned. Text and position in the list will play a more crucial role for users.

As side note: icon and color aren't useful in this case (because you have a dropdown with a small list) but same it's not true in other scenarios (tables, dashboards) where they both may help (it's material for another post but I'd reduce their number to three or less: low priority, high priority and critical).

Note that IMO priority doesn't match well with Trivial and an icon won't clarify this enough. What you're seeing is an aggregated index (a trivial to fix bug may have high priority because it happens 99.9% and users data will be corrupted). I think, in this case, proper wording is more important than icon with/without text message issue but decision is domain driven and shouldn't be generalized. Do you want to explicit that a trivial bug has low priority (because of any obscure company policy)? Write it, users won't need to guess or to interpret an icon:

  • P1 Higher - blocker
  • P2 High - critical
  • P3 Normal - major
  • P4 Low - minor
  • P5 Lower - trivial

What I mean (I'm not sure it's clear) is that trivial is not a possible value for priority as 10 centimeters is not a possible value for hair color. However priority depends on other factors then if you label that box with priority you should (IMO) also provide proper priority values in your text.

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    thanks @adriano addition of level emphasizing Higher, high, normal etc. does give better experience. – exexzian Nov 9 '15 at 15:54
  • What I mean (I'm not sure it's clear) is that trivial is not a possible value for priority as 10 centimeters is not a possible value for hair color. However priority depends on other factors then if you label that box with priority you should (IMO) also provide proper priority values. – Adriano Repetti Nov 9 '15 at 15:57
  • what about tooltip? Hope that won't clutter the UI – exexzian Nov 9 '15 at 15:59
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    Myself I see tooltips on list items pretty annoying but it's my very own personal taste: I do not have any test data about this. If space is too little you may provide 2/3 icons (black & white, not colored) and tooltip text (assuming users have good context knowledge to associate priority with difficulty without troubles). – Adriano Repetti Nov 9 '15 at 16:01
  • yeah that comes with the context knowledge - moreover if the userbase is same (like a fixed support team) then I guess tooltip can be avoided as they will get familiar with it after awhile – exexzian Nov 9 '15 at 16:05
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The icons won't be clear without the words.

The words depend on how you're using Priority in your development process.

Priority is often calculated from other factors, such as:

  • Severity: does the bug destroy customer data?
  • Cost: What is the estimated effort, or cost, to fix the bug?
  • Commonality: How many users are affected by this?
  • Frequency: How often will a given user encounter the bug?

In my experience working with Dev teams, most teams consider two factors, sometimes three: the severity, cost, and the number of people affected. It's possible to calculate the priority automatically, but teams often use their judgement to assign a priority. Cost is considered more often for the lower-priority bugs. An inconsequential bug that's expensive to fix will not likely be fixed.

I hope this helps you move forward.

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    thanks for listing other factors : we also consider severity and cost and driving factor while deciding priority – exexzian Nov 9 '15 at 12:54
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As we all know that, User read from left to right, but in your example you are showing icon first, then text... I would recommend you to place an icon in right and text at left. I agree that the images are more attractive than text only but do not forget that text is more informative then image as it describe the purpose. Images are always used to support your text and to enhance the aesthetics, but the user will understand the purpose once he read the text.

Taking an example of news apps of current trend you will find that they are serving headline and summary first in left and then image in right so that way user better understand the news and relate the image to it.

  • I feel keeping icons on right will give unnecessary space gap - since texts will be of varying length. and moreover - if icons becomes descriptive enough then it is good move to keep them on left only - so that user doesn't need to read the whole word – exexzian Nov 9 '15 at 12:52

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