Any ideas for a dropdown to choose a topic? The problem, there are 20 or so fixed (predefined) topics, but the user should also be able to choose from a (separate) custom list to which he can add/rename/delete topics?

What I currently have is a dropdown that , when clicked, shows:

Topics     Custom Topics          <<-- (these are tabs)

topic 1
topic 2
topic 3

If the user switches to the "Custom Topics" the list changes.

I don't like this solution so much because I don't like having tabs inside the dropdown, and also using tabs may be confusing because here they actually act as radio buttons.


  • Are there any limits to number of custom topics? What if there are hundreds of them? Also, add if fine but you want other manage operations like rename and delete via the drop down? That would be overkill I guess.
    – Harshal
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 11:07

2 Answers 2


Do you expect the user to add many custom topics? In other words, do you fear the list would be too long if you concatenate both lists?

If not, I'd make it a single dropdown.

   [ pick a topic   ▼ ]
    |Create new topic|
    |Custom topic 1  |
    |Custom topic 2  |
    |Default topic 1 |
    |Default topic 2 |
    |Default topic ..|
    |Default topic 19|
    |Default topic 20|

A tag cloud could be an option.

Custom topics could be a slightly different color (and potentially allow deletion) but I would recommend you use alphabetical order for them.


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  • I don't think it serves my purpose. I'm pretty sure the lists should be standard (vertical). My only problem is how to allow switching between the two lists (or layout them) in a way that conveys "select an item from EITHER list". Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 11:09
  • 1
    I think you have a solution in search of a problem then... ;-) Seriously though, why do you want to hide one of the sets at any moment? Is there a benefit to the person using it? Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 13:04
  • That might very well be the case... But, since I have 22 items on the first list, if I just added the second list (of custom topics, to which the user can add etc.) it will be pushed way down after the scroll. I think the use case here is that the user will know right away if he's interested in a predefined topic or one of his own created ones. I am just wondering if there's any UX pattern here that I'm overlooking... Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 13:26

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