Column Heading Alignment Rules for Placement of Data

22 Aug 2007 - 3:57am
2 years ago
6 replies
3639 reads
pooja
2007

Hey All,

I am working on the Web Application, which generates the Purchase orders and requisitions and maintains the Procurement services for Hotel Industry.

Application releases the Output is in the form of Reports While designing these reports,

I am facing small trouble; Need suggestion and views on it!!

a.. How does the content inside columns should be placed and aligned? If data consists Alphanumeric, Numeric and Quantity based data, example Dates, Phone number address and quantities (decimal units).
b.. What is difference between displaying Fixed and Variable amount of data in the columns or the rows?
According to my understanding towards User Experience " I am aligning the data left wise like Dates, Phone numbers, Headers etc. and Quantities dependant upon their decimal units hence right align "

Is there any other better way! Or what does rules say to display!!!

Please Suggest!!

Cheers,

Pooja

Comments

22 Aug 2007 - 12:57pm
dmitryn
2004

Pooja,

There's a nice set of guidelines on table value presentation at

http://java.sun.com/products/jlf/at/book/Idioms4.html

These are intended for desktop rather than web apps, but should help
to answer your questions nonetheless.

Dmitry

On 8/22/07, Pooja Rastogi <pooja.rastogi at jktech.com> wrote:
>
> Hey All,
>
>
>
> I am working on the Web Application, which generates the Purchase orders and requisitions and maintains the Procurement services for Hotel Industry.
>
> Application releases the Output is in the form of Reports While designing these reports,
>
>
>
> I am facing small trouble; Need suggestion and views on it!!
>
>
>
> a.. How does the content inside columns should be placed and aligned? If data consists Alphanumeric, Numeric and Quantity based data, example Dates, Phone number address and quantities (decimal units).
> b.. What is difference between displaying Fixed and Variable amount of data in the columns or the rows?
> According to my understanding towards User Experience " I am aligning the data left wise like Dates, Phone numbers, Headers etc. and Quantities dependant upon their decimal units hence right align "
>
>
>
> Is there any other better way! Or what does rules say to display!!!
>
> Please Suggest!!
>
>
>
> Cheers,
>
>
>
> Pooja
> ________________________________________________________________
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>

22 Aug 2007 - 1:25pm
Morten Hjerde
2007

hi Pooja

These are the Rules:

All text left aligned
All numbers right aligned
Single characters are centered
Numbers that are not values, like product codes for example, are treated
like text and left aligned.
Use the same number of decimal places for all numbers in a column
Left align dates.
Use 2 digits and leading zero for day numbers. (This may be cultural?) Use
the same format for dates throughout

That may be it. Can't think of any more... Yes - put the date format onto
the column header if poss. (mm.dd.yy for example)

--
Morten Hjerde
http://sender11.typepad.com

9 Apr 2011 - 4:32am
Shivanand R Yerva
2009

 

Hi Morten,

 

What about time format like "1:55:19". How is this to be aligned? Left or Right?

 

27 May 2011 - 3:54pm
DrWex
2006

On Sat, Apr 9, 2011 at 5:18 AM, Shivanand R Yerva wrote: > What about time format like "1:55:19". How is this to be aligned? Left or Right?

The usual answer is that numerical data of all sort is to be aligned on the right side. The reason given is that this makes comparison of data arranged in columns much easier. However, if the number sits on its own or as part of an informational string, e.g. "Page content retrieved at 1:55:19" then it's fine to use any alignment that improves readability. Usually that will be center, in my experience, but not always.

27 May 2011 - 3:54pm
cfmdesigns
2004

Right aligned, because you might have additional digits to the left.

Or rather, "decimal" aligned. You want to align on the rightmost colon (as the non-numeric item that is always supposed to be present).

24 Aug 2007 - 6:41pm
cfmdesigns
2004

>From: "Mattsen, Andria" <Andria_Mattsen at sra.com>
>
>My struggle through this, as minute as it might be, is trying to
>understand why the arrow points up if a column is listed from
>A(top)-Z(bottom). Have we all just copied Microsoft, who may or may not
>have put a great deal of thought into it or are we assigning numbers to
>letters - assuming that A=1 and Z=26. Is that logic that typical users
>would think of? What's more logical to me is that people expect things
>to be read A(top)-Z(bottom) and the default "usual" view to have the
>arrow pointing down.

I've given up on the "triangle as indicator of sort direction", because what seems to be the standard -- arrow pointing up means order goes down -- doesn't match my mental model, and some apps reverse it. As a result, I can never predict the order based on the particular icon.

And thus, the icon presence ends up merely meaning "this is the sorted column", and I (have to) use textual cues to figure out if its the order I want. Which also means that to ensure it's the order I want, instead of reading, I click to change the order, and if the new order is wrong, I click again. I can tell that the new order is wrong and click again faster than I can tell if the original order is right; something caused by scanning how the letterforms change rather than what the forms are.

There's a study just waiting to be done there, about whether the arrow icon actually helps. From my own experience, I suspect it does not (or at least hinders in enough cases to balance those it helps in).

-- Jim Drew
Seattle, WA

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