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I have a situation where we have a web-assisted ledger where sales people can add line items (products), and they can also add options of the product that are entered as sub-line-items.

Traditionally, everything that has a price, be that price of the line item or sub-line item, the price is added into the Total, like so:

Product               $150
- option 1             $10
- option 2             $40
----------------------------------------
TOTAL                 $200

I am adding "Product Kits" that have their price computed differently. The parts of the Kit are meant to be the pricing of the kit and the Sum of those goes into "Kit Price". But the way the summing program currently works, is it adds all items, be they parent line item or child line item. So price is computed twice:

Multi-part Product Kit $50 - total price of kit
- part 1               $30 - part of kit
- part 2               $20 - part of kit
----------------------------------------
TOTAL                 $100 - Total (should be $50)

Here is an actual visual:

Price should be $250, but the Product Kit price is added twice because "parts" are assumed to be separate from the key, when in fact they are part of the kit.

enter image description here

Question

I can change how pricing is computed programmatically. But, users of the ledger are used to the way pricing is computed now.

How do I explain to users that pricing for individual "bundles" may be computed using different rules. How can I keep both styles of computing sums but convey to the user that they are computed differently?

Thoughts

One thought I have is to gray out the pricing of kit parts to signify that it is not considered for Total.

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I am assuming that users of the ledger are used to the way the ledger looks rather than necessarily being used to how pricing is actually calculated. My point is, that the only reason a user has any idea what is actually happening in the background is because the visual cues they have make it obvious (i.e. they can see the line item amounts and a total amount below them and this makes the backend calculation obvious).

That being the case, you just need to change the way data is displayed on the screen so that it still makes sense to them. This could be done any number of ways.

One thing your question wasn't clear on is whether kits can only be purchased as a whole unit, or whether purchasing just a kit part is also possible?

If you'd like to keep the same look and feel

  • If the kits can only be purchased as a whole unit, do you need to show the individual part prices? Instead you could just show the overall kit price and leave the parts listed only for description purposes. This solves the problem all round.
  • If both whole kits and individual parts can be purchased, then your idea of greying out the pricing of kit parts is a good way to go. It's a simple approach that most users will be familiar with. You could also try greying out and/or right justifying the individual part descriptions in addition to greying out the amounts.

Other options

If keeping the same look and feel isn't so critical, you could add a column to the right. This is a standard approach in many cases and is likely to be familiar to most salespeople. See my mockup of one approach using your earlier example:

Added column to right

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