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I am designing for a piece of web-based software that has a drag-n-drop functionality for "widgets" that can be placed in one of three columns. Over the 2 years of development the list of widgets required has increased due to customer demand.

We currently have a drop down menu to select widgets and then drag-n-drop them onto the layout. This drop down includes the following:

  • Widget Icon
  • Text Label
  • Category

Example:

enter image description here

I was wondering if anyone could help me improve both the general Usability of this drop down menu, but also the general Interface. I've extensively searched around on Google, but this form of a drop down doesn't appear to be very common so I'm at a bit of a loss of how this can be improved - if at all.

  • For drop down, did you mean Accordion? – Abhishek Sharma Apr 11 '16 at 8:46
  • @AbhishekSharma no not an accordion. It works in a similar way to a drop down menu used on a website. But instead of opening a new page the User drags the icon / label block onto the workspace within the browser. – Keith Apr 11 '16 at 8:48
  • User will drag the widget from the drop down menu? – Abhishek Sharma Apr 11 '16 at 8:49
  • @AbhishekSharma Yes, the User drags the widget from the drop down menu to then place in one of three columns on the browser window (workspace). It is a one page software application that is accessible via the web browser. – Keith Apr 11 '16 at 8:58
  • I suppose user will do this activity to personalize his dashboard, right? – Abhishek Sharma Apr 11 '16 at 9:00
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I understood the question now,

As per my experience, the drop down menu is not a good practice.

In order to remove dropdown we can use a modal. Modal will consists of all widgets, user have to select widget which he wants to show on dashboard. and Click Save.

On Dashboard page, Give a link or a button as Personalize, Whenever user click on this button he will redirects to Modal to modify his widgets visibility.

  • Wouldn't this create more clicking for the User as they need to access a personalised state of the dashboard (1 click), select a category of widget (2 click) and then drag that widget (3 click), but then save the dashboard (4 click). As opposed to opening the dropdown (1 click) and dragging a widget onto the workspace (2 click) But because Users need access to ALL widgets as soon as possible, I'm not sure making them enter into a personalised phase would be User friendly for the demographic we are designing for. – Keith Apr 11 '16 at 9:36
  • But task is not frequent. So, Clicks will not matter I guess. – Abhishek Sharma Apr 11 '16 at 9:42
  • Very good point. I'm just not sure if I'd get the idea passed by management but it's definitely another avenue I did not think of. I'll get making some mockups now, thank you for taking the time to answer this :) – Keith Apr 11 '16 at 10:22
  • @KeithJ Welcome :) – Abhishek Sharma Apr 11 '16 at 10:30

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