Column Heading Alignment Rules forPlacementofData

23 Aug 2007 - 7:42am
7 years ago
4 replies
413 reads
bminihan
2007

I think you hit on why there doesn't seem to be a universal default. I've tested this concept in a few applications, and get both answers from non-technical people: some think A-Z should have an arrow pointing up, and Z-A should have an arrow pointing down, and some think it's the opposite. That's why I typically recommend the ALT-text to clarify for anyone who thinks it's backwards.

Someone once suggested (although it might clutter the interface) is to use an arrow and the text directly in the control, as in "^ A-Z". Again, might clutter the interface too much if you have several of these in the table columns.

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

---- "Mattsen wrote:
> Thanks for all your feedback. The 3rd click is an interesting concept.
> I'll have to look into that.
>
> 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.
>
> 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
> Bryan Minihan
> Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 7:36 PM
> To: 'Jack Moffett'; discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Column Heading Alignment Rules
> forPlacementofData
>
> Incidentally, after thinking about it, I agree with you. The "click a
> third
> time to reset to default" behavior definitely requires user testing if
> you're unsure if people will understand it. I was recalling my
> conversation
> from yesterday, and reflecting observed user behavior in my company
> which,
> of course, has its own brand of customs and learned idiosyncrasies (such
> as
> are learned using Lotus Notes for several years).
>
> I would usually be the last person to suggest following Lotus Notes as
> the
> measure for consistent usable design. Like I said, though, I've
> observed
> users doing this (clicking a column 3 times) in unrelated studies and
> suggested it in a web app as something people might relate to.
>
> - Bryan
> http://www.bryanminihan.com
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
> Jack
> Moffett
> Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 4:41 PM
> To: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Column Heading Alignment Rules for
> PlacementofData
>
>
> 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
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
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>
> ________________________________________________________________
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> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
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--

Comments

23 Aug 2007 - 7:55am
Jack L. Moffett
2005

I found a similar thread on Sigia-L from 2003.

http://www.info-arch.org/lists/sigia-l/0310/0092.html

I would be really interested in reading the origins of this
particular UI convention, as I've always considered it to be
unintuitive. Google hasn't turned up anything on that yet.

Jack

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

To design is much more than simply
to assemble, to order, or even to edit;
it is to add value and meaning,
to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify,
to modify, to dignify, to dramatize,
to persuade, and perhaps even to amuse.

- Paul Rand

23 Aug 2007 - 7:23am
Mattsen, Andria
2007

Thanks for all your feedback. The 3rd click is an interesting concept.
I'll have to look into that.

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.

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
Bryan Minihan
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 7:36 PM
To: 'Jack Moffett'; discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Column Heading Alignment Rules
forPlacementofData

Incidentally, after thinking about it, I agree with you. The "click a
third
time to reset to default" behavior definitely requires user testing if
you're unsure if people will understand it. I was recalling my
conversation
from yesterday, and reflecting observed user behavior in my company
which,
of course, has its own brand of customs and learned idiosyncrasies (such
as
are learned using Lotus Notes for several years).

I would usually be the last person to suggest following Lotus Notes as
the
measure for consistent usable design. Like I said, though, I've
observed
users doing this (clicking a column 3 times) in unrelated studies and
suggested it in a web app as something people might relate to.

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Jack
Moffett
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 4:41 PM
To: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Column Heading Alignment Rules for
PlacementofData

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

________________________________________________________________
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

________________________________________________________________
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To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
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23 Aug 2007 - 7:50am
Mattsen, Andria
2007

Right, I've definitely not gotten any consensus. ;-)
I like the idea of being explicit. It does make it a little more
clutter, but in our case we are only able to sort on 2 or 3 and it only
shows up on the column currently sorted on.

THANKS!

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: bjminihan at nc.rr.com [mailto:bjminihan at nc.rr.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2007 9:43 AM
To: Mattsen, Andria
Cc: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com; Jack Moffett
Subject: RE: [IxDA Discuss] Column Heading Alignment Rules
forPlacementofData

I think you hit on why there doesn't seem to be a universal default.
I've tested this concept in a few applications, and get both answers
from non-technical people: some think A-Z should have an arrow pointing
up, and Z-A should have an arrow pointing down, and some think it's the
opposite. That's why I typically recommend the ALT-text to clarify for
anyone who thinks it's backwards.

Someone once suggested (although it might clutter the interface) is to
use an arrow and the text directly in the control, as in "^ A-Z".
Again, might clutter the interface too much if you have several of these
in the table columns.

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

---- "Mattsen wrote:
> Thanks for all your feedback. The 3rd click is an interesting concept.
> I'll have to look into that.
>
> 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.
>
> 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
> Bryan Minihan
> Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 7:36 PM
> To: 'Jack Moffett'; discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Column Heading Alignment Rules
> forPlacementofData
>
> Incidentally, after thinking about it, I agree with you. The "click a
> third
> time to reset to default" behavior definitely requires user testing if
> you're unsure if people will understand it. I was recalling my
> conversation
> from yesterday, and reflecting observed user behavior in my company
> which,
> of course, has its own brand of customs and learned idiosyncrasies
(such
> as
> are learned using Lotus Notes for several years).
>
> I would usually be the last person to suggest following Lotus Notes as
> the
> measure for consistent usable design. Like I said, though, I've
> observed
> users doing this (clicking a column 3 times) in unrelated studies and
> suggested it in a web app as something people might relate to.
>
> - Bryan
> http://www.bryanminihan.com
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
> Jack
> Moffett
> Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 4:41 PM
> To: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Column Heading Alignment Rules for
> PlacementofData
>
>
> 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
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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

--

24 Aug 2007 - 7:41am
Stacy Felish
2007

Hi Andria -
The team I worked with had the following rationale when styleguiding?the clickable arrow pointing up for A-Z or 1-2-3:

1) The arrow is a useful toggle from switching between ascending (up for A-Z or 1-2-3)?and decending (down for Z-A or 3-2-1) order.

2) When the arrow?is wider at the bottom (pointing up)? it indicates a higher value at the bottom of the list than at the top (useful when sorting numerical values)

3) The presence of the arrow displays to the user which column is currently sorted and in?which direction

Hope this helps.

Sincerely,
Stacy Felish

-----Original Message-----
From: Mattsen, Andria <Andria_Mattsen at sra.com>
To: Bryan Minihan <bjminihan at nc.rr.com>; Jack Moffett <jmoffett at inmedius.com>; discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Sent: Thu, 23 Aug 2007 8:23 am
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Column Heading Alignment Rules forPlacementofData

Thanks for all your feedback. The 3rd click is an interesting concept.
I'll have to look into that.

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.

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
Bryan Minihan
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 7:36 PM
To: 'Jack Moffett'; discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Column Heading Alignment Rules
forPlacementofData

Incidentally, after thinking about it, I agree with you. The "click a
third
time to reset to default" behavior definitely requires user testing if
you're unsure if people will understand it. I was recalling my
conversation
from yesterday, and reflecting observed user behavior in my company
which,
of course, has its own brand of customs and learned idiosyncrasies (such
as
are learned using Lotus Notes for several years).

I would usually be the last person to suggest following Lotus Notes as
the
measure for consistent usable design. Like I said, though, I've
observed
users doing this (clicking a column 3 times) in unrelated studies and
suggested it in a web app as something people might relate to.

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Jack
Moffett
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 4:41 PM
To: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Column Heading Alignment Rules for
PlacementofData

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

________________________________________________________________
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
________________________________________________________________
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

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