This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum. We're giving away four copies of Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt and have Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam & Tushar Sharma on-line! See this thread for details.
This would be much easier if I could attach files to a post or I had a place to host photos that wasn't blocked from work, but bear with me and I'll try to explain.
I have an application that works in something of a hierarchy. The top level will be Organization. The organization edit page allows you to edit basic info about the org, and has a table at the bottom with the next level down, Group, with an edit page that edits group info and lists all the Offices attached to that group, and so on.
Here is the entire Hierarchy: Organization->Group->Office->Team->Person
This gets a bit annoying to drill down through in this manner because of the size of the hierarchy. The only Idea I've got is implement some sort of Tree control, but I'm not fond of that idea.
If anyone has any ideas for a better UI design, I'd love to hear it. I can probably even handle an AJAX solution if necessary.
What you describe seems to fit the tree model, but there are other approaches. I suggest hitting various retailer sites for ideas (hope they are not all blocked from work as well!). About every retailer has some type of hierarchy to their product categories (Electronics > Video > HDTV > Plasma > Under $1500).
Also think about what types of actions people really want to accomplish. I am sure that "drill down through a huge tree" is not what people really want (but it might be the best interface). Do people have to act on items that cross boundaries? For example, I might want to update a training date for all Persons in the "Virginia Office" regardless of what team they are on or I might need a list of all Teams made up of more than 20 people. These types of actions do not fit well into trees.