I'm working on a web app. Now I have to divide a value range into several continuous parts, say, divide 0~100 into four parts: 0~20, 20~40, 40~60, 60~100.

In the simplest way, I can use some text inputs for the values of split points. In the example above, the values would be 20, 40 and 60. However, I have to validate the input values and having several inputs seems not intuitive.

So I prefer a slider with multiple handles like this: enter image description here

I think it more convenient and intuitive.

As far as I see, sliders with one handle or two are common, while sliders with more handles are quite rare. I wonder if such a slider is suitable or are there any better alternatives?

  • My experiences with multipoint sliders matches @mgraham. In a somewhat similar question, I argued to remove the constraint from the input, and rather help the user distribute "what's missing". --- ux.stackexchange.com/questions/3736/…
    – peterchen
    Aug 15 '16 at 9:19
  • @peterchen actually I want to allow users to define some thresholds, so the size of each part may not count. Still I think your idea of relative assignment awesome in that question.
    – jddxf
    Aug 16 '16 at 5:49

Sliders output-wise do show the differences between ranges better than a bunch of text inputs. But I've used multi-range sliders a couple of times and people asked for text fields when they had to use them as 'inputs'. Here's a quick sample of the complaints I got as to why that was the case :-) :

a) Difficult to select between overlapping handles (especially with touch, and especially with more than 2 handles in the overlap)

b) Adding/Deleting handles is also difficult in the same scenario

c) Placing handles on precise values is fiddly

Sliders input-wise are generally good for what Shneiderman called "dynamic queries" - http://drum.lib.umd.edu/bitstream/handle/1903/388/CS-TR-3022.pdf - interactively changing the value of a slider and immediately seeing the effect on another variable - usually visually. If this isn't your use case it might be worth going back to the text fields and having a separate visual representation to show the ranges (essentially a stacked, horizontal 100% bar chart of the values)


Perhaps a hybrid of slider points and text input where a change to one automatically changes the other?

In this way there are a number of advantages:

  • If you are typing in the edit fields you get the precision, as well as see a visual representation in the slider points.
  • If you are dragging the slider points you now see the values change in the edit fields, which allows you to achieve precision while dragging.
  • Mobile users can use either but if they need precision they will probably find it easier to use the edit fields.

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