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April 13, 2008


Michael Zuschlag

Is it a problem of the user realizing colors should be unique, or realizing when one is considering a non-unique color? I suspect the same effect can be had without using more space by the dropdown listing the name(s) of the user beside each “taken” color. However, there are other advantages of listing choices in a row rather than using a dropdown that can make it worth the real estate:

1. Single click selection is faster than the two clicks needed for a dropdown, making it especially desirable for frequently changed items.

2. Lets the users see all choices at a glance (no click) so they can more quickly evaluate if there’s anything they like better than what they have already.

3. It self-documents the item better. For example, consider the item labeled “White Balance” with a dropdown value of “Tungsten”. As opposed to, what, Molybdenum? With a list, the user can sees other choices of Sunlight, Shade, Fluorescent, Candle, establishing that white is balanced depending on the light source.

Ryan Hennig

Mike, this is an interesting design question. I have a suggestion that would be cool to try:

- Create a 4 x 4 grid of regions colored in each of the 16 colors available.
- Family members appear as floating icons with their name and a tiny face photo
- To assign a color, you drag and drop the icon onto the region. If somebody is already there, they are "bumped" out, perhaps onto the color that the new person was at previously.
- Intelligent defaults: people are initially preassigned to the most commonly chosen colors for their gender/family role/whatever
- Instant feedback: A "preview" area (or even their actual calendar) shows how several color coded appointments will appear on the calendar with the color scheme as each choice is made.

This is intuitive because each color becomes a "territory" which only one person can have at a given time. Note that I've intentionally ignored the implementation effort and just focused on making a cool interface.

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