Column Heading Alignment Rules for Placement ofData

22 Aug 2007 - 2:29pm
6 years ago
2 replies
569 reads
Mattsen, Andria
2007

I completely agree with the rules that Morten stated. On that note
however, I have a side question...

On columns that can be sorted:
1. Do you show an indicator as soon as the user gets to the page to
communicate which column is sorted?(even though in our case, it always
happens to be the first column) OR do you only show the indicator once
they've clicked a column header.
2. What direction should the arrow point if a column lists
alphabetically (A being at the top through Z being at the bottom)? I'm
thrown off specifically by this since Microsoft products (which
unfortunately are always referenced as standard since they're so
prevalent) does the arrow pointing upwards while Mozilla Thunderbird as
an example does it facing down. When I've asked around, I get response
such as "I just click it until I get the result I want", "The 'default
view' should have the arrow pointing down."

Curious your thoughts.

Thanks so much in advance,
Andria
andria mattsen
senior user experience designer
SRA // RABA Center
443.656.7282

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-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Morten Hjerde
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 2:25 PM
To: Pooja Rastogi
Cc: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Column Heading Alignment Rules for Placement
ofData

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
________________________________________________________________
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Comments

22 Aug 2007 - 3:28pm
bminihan
2007

I just had this exact discussion yesterday with a web application owner...funny =]

In his case, they wanted to add sorting to a table, almost exactly as you described.

Since it was a new feature that doesn't exist yet, I said they should add a arrow pointing up to the default sorted column, and add a TITLE or ALT attribute that says "A-Z" to clarify for those who bother reading ALT tags.

If they click an ascending column (already sorted), the arrow will then point down, with "Z-A" ALT tag.

One thing that typically bugs me about sorted pages is after you sort one column, you frequently forget which column was sorted by default. So if you glimpsed a record on the first page, then sorted a column, it's sometimes difficult to remember how to get back to the record you glimpsed (which may now be at the end of the record set). To help with that, I suggested they let users click a descending sorted column a third time, to revert back to the default. So they will have this setup:

No arrow - not sorted (some other column is sorted)
Click
Up arrow - sorted ascending (A-Z)
Click
Down arrow - sorted descending (Z-A)
Click again to revert the table to the default sort method

The responses you got when you asked around are a good indication that there aren't very many clear standards in this area...

Hope the above helps =]

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

---- "Mattsen wrote:
>
> I completely agree with the rules that Morten stated. On that note
> however, I have a side question...
>
> On columns that can be sorted:
> 1. Do you show an indicator as soon as the user gets to the page to
> communicate which column is sorted?(even though in our case, it always
> happens to be the first column) OR do you only show the indicator once
> they've clicked a column header.
> 2. What direction should the arrow point if a column lists
> alphabetically (A being at the top through Z being at the bottom)? I'm
> thrown off specifically by this since Microsoft products (which
> unfortunately are always referenced as standard since they're so
> prevalent) does the arrow pointing upwards while Mozilla Thunderbird as
> an example does it facing down. When I've asked around, I get response
> such as "I just click it until I get the result I want", "The 'default
> view' should have the arrow pointing down."
>
> Curious your thoughts.
>
> Thanks so much in advance,
> Andria
> andria mattsen
> senior user experience designer
> SRA // RABA Center
> 443.656.7282
>
>
> Information contained in this e-mail message is intended only for the
> confidential use of the recipient(s) named above. This message may
> contain proprietary or confidential information. If the reader of this
> message is not the intended recipient or an agent responsible for
> delivering it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that
> you have received this document in error and that any review,
> disseminating, distribution or copying of this message is strictly
> prohibited.
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
> Morten Hjerde
> Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 2:25 PM
> To: Pooja Rastogi
> Cc: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Column Heading Alignment Rules for Placement
> ofData
>
> 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
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org

--

22 Aug 2007 - 3:41pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Aug 22, 2007, at 4:28 PM, bjminihan at nc.rr.com wrote:

> Click again to revert the table to the default sort method

Wow. That's not a behavior I would ever expect (and have never seen).
Standard behavior is to toggle between ascending and descending sort
of the same column.

I would expect this to generate a good deal of confusion. Are you
going to test it?

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

Things should be as simple as possible,
but no simpler.

- Albert Einstein

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