The custom export function does not allow the export of data from multiple contact types (e.g. Fname/Lname from Individual contact AND the Address from Org contact). As described in documentation, there is an implicit contact type for exports which must be honored. But the interface for export "appears" to allow this by permitting the user to select a contact type for each field. From a usability perspective, the current structure is misleading, and requires people to select a contact type for each field, when in fact a single contact type applies to the entire field list.
On the "Export All or Selected Fields (step 2 of 3)" page, where the user selects primary OR custom exports, provide a dropdown box next to the custom exports option where the user selects the contact type they wish to export. On the following page, the user is then given a similar field-selection form MINUS the first column present in the current version of that screen – it is no longer necessary – the contact type has already been selected and only applicable fields should be listed.
This issue may be related to: http://issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-2614
Structuring the export process in this way may also provide some functionality to address the contact relationships issue. In addition to allowing people the option of selecting a single contact type, you could also allow the following options:
- Individual Contacts with Current Employer (allows export of individual data plus organization data where org data is related to indiv as current employer)
- Organization Contacts with Employees (allows export of organization data plus indiv data where indivs are employees of organization)
To maximize flexibility within the relationship model, you could structure that form so that the user selects the contact type they wish to export and select a relationship they wish to export related data on. (i.e. not be dependent on predefined "special" relationship models)