Help users select options in a tracker artifact

You can help users cope with complex information by guiding them to eligible values in single-select fields.

Any tracker that manages real-world information will quickly become very complex. Users can be confused by a proliferation of "Select" fields. Confusion can lead to inconsistent data, which makes your job harder.

You can help relieve the complexity by showing users their eligible options in a given field based on values they have already selected in another field. You can create overlapping sequences of dependent fields, with as many levels as you need.

This simplifies things for the user, but for the tracker administrator it can quickly get complicated. So let's look at an example.

  1. Click Project Admin in the project navigation bar.
  2. Click Tracker Settings and create a tracker. For this example, let's call it the Lunch Planning tracker.
  3. Create a single-select field and call it Lunch type. (For this example, we'll ignore the built-in fields, such as Status and Assigned to. We're just working with fields that you create.)
  4. Create some values for the Lunch type field. Let's call them Buffet, Picnic, and Banquet.

    Each type of lunch will make sense in some kinds of locations and not others. For example, you would not normally plan a banquet lunch in a park. We are now going to make it easy for users to avoid making such a mistake.

  5. Create a single-select field called Location type, with Lunch type as the parent field, and give it some plausible values.
    1. Start by adding an option called Beach. In the Parent Values column, choose Picnic, because that's the kind of lunch you would have at the beach. (The Parent Values column lists all the values in the parent field you selected.)
    2. Add a Restaurant. In the Parent Values column, hold down the Ctrl key and choose Banquet and Buffet, because either of those could be held at a restaurant.
  6. Create a single-select field called Location, with Location type as the parent field, and give it some values to choose from.
    1. Start with an option called Happy Food Restaurant. In the Parent Values column, select Restaurant, because that's the type of location that Happy Food Restaurant is.
    2. Add another option, Hanalei Cove. Under Parent Values, select Beach.
  7. Save your work and go to the tracker whose settings you have been editing. Try selecting from the interdependent values you have just created.
Observe that the value you choose in the Lunch Type field controls which values are available to you in the Location Type field, and that selecting a value in Location type in turn controls the values that appear in the Location field.
  • When a user selects Banquet for a lunch type, they can select Restaurant but not Beach in the Location type field. You will have less error correction to do, and users will avoid confusion.
  • When a user selects Picnic for their lunch type, the Location Type field offers only Park and Beach. Now you will not have to go through and clean up after users who mistakenly choose to plan a picnic at Happy Food Restaurant, and the doorman at Happy Food Restaurant will not have to turn away users who mistakenly show up with picnic baskets.
Important: If you are used to defining your own Tracker fields, the ability to make field values depend on other values may change how your trackers work in ways you didn't anticipate. Keep these points in mind:
  • Linking fields in this way doesn't modify existing data, but when users later modify fields that are linked, they will have to adhere to the relationships you set here.
  • If a field has a parent, and that parent field also has a parent, the top-most parent field must have at least one value.
  • When a field has a parent field that is required, the child field's default value is set to None. If that required parent field is deselected, the child field no longer has to be required, but Required remains the default.
  • If you require a specific field value before an artifact can be placed in a given status, that field's children are subject to the same requirements. See Create a tracker workflow for more about controlling what status an artifact can be in.
  • If you delete a field that contains values that another field's values depend on, the dependent field becomes a standard single-select field on its own.
  • When you cut and paste an artifact from one tracker to another, only those field values that also exist in the new tracker come along with the artifact. If those values aren't valid under the dependency rules of the new tracker, they are still brought along.
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