I am working on a technical application, used in the industry. I have been asked to redesign the GUI for it, but I am having trouble. The program is basically just a way to set the values for a large amount of options.
The way it is done at the moment is rather ugly to look at. The program has a hierarchy system, like in Windows Explorer, so you can select the options that relate to specific settings. Once you select a category, you are shown a list of settings for it. Each setting either has:
- A checkbox
- A combobox with unique selection
- A combobox where every option has a checkbox, so you can select multiple possible values
A quick mock-up to show what I mean, roughly:
Some categories have only one type of input, others have multiple, or even all, types of inputs. Unlike in the mock up above, everything is vertically aligned, with columns defined at the top of the panel.
What was done to alleviate some of the issues is putting all the checkboxes into a massive matrix, a list of about 100 settings, each with 16 possible values. It is kind of clumsy to use, but better than having to manually go into each category and changing it separately.
I have been trying to think of ways to ease the cognitive load of the user, and trying to streamlining the UI into something easier to use. There are already a couple of design choices that help to make it a bit more bearable (like hiding options that are not editable for that particular product).
Is there any technique that is useful to deal with such a large and varied group of options?