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I am designing a tool that allows users to edit/update the fields of multiple tickets at once in a ticketing system. There are other categories users can update besides those listed below. This data is used for filtering, reporting, and accounting.

These are internal users who work with these fields on many other interfaces and are used to these boolean options being displayed as a series of checkboxes.

For Example:

Check boxes for Customer reported, courtesy ticket, and customer visible

Because the users need to adjust multiple tickets an additional state "no change" along with the ability to set all the fields to true or false is required. I am worried that users will be confused by the change in the interface and the third option. I am hoping to find a solution that is a little more intuitive.

Examples of items I'm considering:

Button options for No change, True, False options for Customer Reported, Courtesy ticker, Customer visible

grid radio buttons for No change, True, False options for Customer Reported, Courtesy ticker, Customer visible

Questions:

1) Is there a standard (or better) UI component that lets the user decide if they want to make a change and then the true/false choice?

2) How can I make the "No Choice", "True", "False" more user centric? I realize the true/false is much more system speak than user speak.

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If the individual tickets are visible but you want to be able to modify them as a group, you could keep your checkbox representation of true/false and introduce a set of controls. These wouldn't represent the current state but rather work as actions to modify all the tickets (and you can see from looking at the individual tickets what the current states are).

enter image description here

Checking a checkbox in these bottom controls would check the respective checkboxes for all tickets. Likewise, unchecking one would uncheck for all tickets. You would need to 'reset' to go back to the original state.

But how do the users know which values have changed and their prior value?

Do they need all that information, particularly the prior value? They might only need to know which tickets have had values changed in some way.

Italics on the ticket name could be used to denote that a change has been made and is pending save. User testing would reveal if that is clear (alternatives could be a star symbol next to the ticket name, or a clearer 'modified' label).

A succinct summary of the changes made also alleviates some of the fear of dealing with large sets of elements. For example "2 tickets will be impacted by these changes"

A 'reset' action may be sufficient for them to go back to see previous values and recover from mistakes.


Another way you could go, maybe if you didn't want to see the individual tickets (or even if you did), is to use a feature of a UI component which is a bit less known: the 'indeterminate' state of the checkbox component. It's typically used to denote that the associated child elements vary, and can't be represented by either a true or false value alone.

enter image description here

So here, clicking a checkbox with an indeterminate state would change it to true (checked) and clicking once more would change it to false (unchecked). Resetting all changes would revert it back to indeterminate.

One thing to keep in mind as well if you intend to use it in a web interface:

The indeterminate state is visual only. The checkbox is still either checked or unchecked as a state. That means the visual indeterminate state masks the real value of the checkbox, so that better make sense in your UI! - css-tricks.com/indeterminate-checkboxes

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The images that you show does not make it clear what the original value was in order for the person choosing an option to know whether there is a change or not.

Would it be possible for you to:

  • Only show the user true/false (with the currently selcted values filled in)
  • Allow the user to change those values if desired
  • Record on the backend whether the value was changed from its original value

If you have to report back out, you could then show which fields changed, and what they changed to.

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    I've considered something like this. The issue I am running into with showing the value is that when editing multiple items you can run into the issue where there are mixed values. For example, if I am editing 5 tickets where 4 have a true value and 1 has a false value what should be shown? I've considered showing something like (4/5 true) but I don't know if it is clear enough or will then prompt the user to want a list of which items are true/false so they don't have to open the items individually. – Chromarush Sep 12 '16 at 12:41
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I wouldn't include a "no change" choice, since it'd be redundant at best, and possibly quite confusing.

The entry conditions must be true set, false set, or (perhaps) neither set. So the real "no change" is that they simply don't change whatever the current setting is.

If it's really a binary true/false choice, then you've to get the person to choose one, unless you can safely default to one and tell the person to make any changes needed.

If you're concerned about visibility for an outlier, you could reverse out that item's field.

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