When a user uploads a new document, they must assign that document to a certain category and subcategory. Our current solution uses two drop-down lists for this.
So currently the workflow looks like this:
- User selects category
- The options for the subcategory are loaded in the second drop-down list, depending on the selection for the first drop-down list
- User selects subcategory
However, there is a major limitation to this solution: the user cannot analyze all the possibilities at a glance. This means that if they have certain subcategories in mind, but do not know the corresponding category of the desired subcategory, they will have to click on all the categories in a trial and error manner. to find the required subcategory.
Since the subcategories are loaded lazily when a category has been selected, there is also no possibility to search in all the subcategories.
Another stumbling block regarding research is that there could be sub-categories also named in different categories.
I have read similar questions here on UXSE and the only viable alternative seems to be a tree view. I don't think there is anything wrong with tree views in general. However, the categories and subcategories are created and maintained by administrators and are therefore not limited in number. So we are dealing with 1 ..not categories, which each contain 1..m sub-categories. Therefore, the tree can become quite large, which makes it very difficult to read and use.
The same goes for a singular drop-down list with both categories and subcategories (indented).
- Exactly a category and a subcategory can and should be selected.
- The hierarchy is limited in depth as described. There are no sub-subcategories.
- The categories are unique.
- The subcategories are unique in their category, but not globally (there might be a subcategory of the same name in another category).
- No constraint on the number of categories and the number of subcategories.
It is easier and more convenient for the user to select a category and a subcategory. Especially if the user is unsure of the required (sub) category, it would be very helpful to have an overview of what is available.
Is there something missing? There has to be a smart way to do it. Or is our current solution already the most feasible option? Any contribution is greatly appreciated!