Click here to Skip to main content
Click here to Skip to main content

Tagged as

A “Combobox with Most Recently Used sub-list” Technique

, 7 Jun 2013 CPOL
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
An example of a combobox with sub-lists: "Most recently used items" and "All items"

Introduction

In this tip, I show usage of a usability technique that can be called “Combobox with Most Recently Used sub-list”. Such a technique is, partially, used in Microsoft Word for a long time – see this link.

Here I show why and how I used it in a real desktop product I developed some time ago.

An Original GUI

Unfortunately, I cannot give the exact screenshots of the application I worked on (it belongs to my Customer). So I show usage of the technique in a simplified Microsoft Silverlight demo here.

In the Silverlight application, we see the following screen:

The left part of the screen is a prototype of a Form of my application. This is an 'original' version - i.e. before I used this technique:

In this tip, we consider only the Country control that contains names of all the EU countries (27 names). They are alphabetically ordered:

A user of this Form typically fills out this (and other) fields; and then clicks the Apply button. The specified data will be put into the application’s database, and then the Form fields will be cleared. This is quite a typical GUI scenario.

An Improvement of the Original GUI

After the first version of the Form had been used by real Users for some time, I saw the following:

Though EU has 27 countries, Users had mostly selected 3 of them – United Kingdom, Germany and France. Those 3 countries gave ~85% of all the Counties entered by the Users. The fact is caused by the specifics of the Application and the data it processes

So I thought – was this possible to accelerate work of a typical User (the Form was called quite often in a typical scenario) using that fact? I applied the technique "Combo with Most Recently Used Items sub-list" I had seen in Microsoft Word. Look at the right part of the screen here - it shows an improved version of the original Form.

Below is what a User will see in the drop-down list of the Combobox:

As you see, the Most Recently Used sub-list at the top of the drop-down Combobox list contains the 3 countries originally – United Kingdom, Germany and France.

But content of the Most Recently Used sub-list is not static. After a User clicks the Apply button, a selected country will be put into the beginning of the Most Recently Used sub-list. Its other items will be scrolled down. For example, below is what happens if we select Austria and click Apply:

The largest possible size of the Most Recently Used sub-list is 5 countries. The count and order of the items in the other sub-list (All Countries) do not change as the Most Recently Used sub-list changes.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

Share

About the Author

VictorSotnikov
Software Developer
Belarus Belarus
I am a .NET and MS SQL developer. See my personal website https://sites.google.com/site/vicsotnikov

Comments and Discussions

 
Questionsource code? PinmemberMember 1077429222-May-14 12:06 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberVolynsky Alex9-Jun-13 3:07 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

| Advertise | Privacy | Terms of Use | Mobile
Web02 | 2.8.1411022.1 | Last Updated 7 Jun 2013
Article Copyright 2013 by VictorSotnikov
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2014
Layout: fixed | fluid