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I've recently decided to update the look of a site and was confronted with a page that is a list of 2,000+ items sorted into a table and a blob of links that go with it.

Are there any better ways to display the list? What other methods could be used to navigate through it?

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Please don't use URL shorteners for links here. You have plenty of space for the real URL and there are plenty of people who won't click a link when they can't tell where the link will actually take them. –  Marjan Venema Sep 3 '11 at 9:54
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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think you should give more details on what the purpose of this list is, how it would be used, what's the expected time spent on page, etc...

Without that, these suggestions could be all inadequate for you. But anyhow, here are some approaches I would try:

  1. start with a map, since you have "geolocated" data. once the user picks a region, you could be working with orders of magnitude less data. this only works if the order of steps is suitable for the usage of this list.

  2. use some sort of datatable, where you can filter the list by typing into a search box

  3. by default sort by a metric that helps the user (popularity, distance, number of chatters, etc...) and hide anything but the top 10.

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I don't know if this helps, the numbers on the left are team #s the next column are their names and the last is their location. The purpose of the list is to help community members navigate to the in-depth pages of different teams or just get some quick information about them. I would expect the average time spent to be around 30 sec to 1 min. –  qsheets Sep 3 '11 at 8:07
    
Yes - it's definitely a case for sorting here according to whatever metric the user finds to be of interest to them. –  Roger Attrill Sep 3 '11 at 8:41
    
@Roger, your vote convinced me to try this - I made it into a datatable that can be sorted (disabled at the moment) and filtered. As for making a map, I've come to the conclusion that since location is the lesser known of the three, it might not be wise to focus heavily on it. And here is my updated page –  qsheets Sep 4 '11 at 8:54
    
@Q.Sheets, on Firefox 3.x that's just horrible –  GUI Junkie Sep 4 '11 at 9:14
    
@GUI, better? Sorry, I wasn't looking at Firefox, when I was putting it together (not even going to bother with IE ;) ). I fixed it so it looks as intended in Firefox 6+. May I ask why you're using Firefox 3.x and not the current version? –  qsheets Sep 4 '11 at 9:27
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Any large list will ideally have:

  • Paging. Don't display all entries as they may take a long time to load and lead to unwieldy page side. Quickly jump to a specific range.
  • Sorting. Allow each column to be the sort key. Yours is only sortable by team #.
  • Filtering. Sort of like pre-defined sort, based on certain obviously discrete categories, such as team size, state, or other similar qualities of the data. You can also allow ranges for numerical values (e.g. price).
  • Search. Search by arbitrary string, ranges, allow user to specify column or search all.

For very large lists, consider faceted navigation. This is a more advanced form of filtering. Usually the facets are updated based on the list or item that you are looking at, and allow you to both narrow your search or broaden it to include all items in a category. For example, if you were looking at a few teams that were all from California, it would have a control to view all teams from California.

Adding even one of those to your example would make a big difference.

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With the information available (#, name, location), only a map will give any visual aid in navigating 2K elements.

However, there is more info available two clicks away in the 'Team statistics' link. Competition, Score, Match...

As the competitions are distinct, you could filter for that using a dropdown. Then sort for score. As the competitions are at different levels, you could sort and group these within the dropdown.

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You confused me for a second, but I think I understand what you were saying. I previously decided the competition sorting done through the "Scouting" link at the right since teams don't always compete every year. Also, the events aren't really at different levels; Michigan is piloting a new event structure (districts), and any team could possibly attend any regional event. The problem I find with mapping is that location is the lesser known of the three items although it could make for an interesting visual. –  qsheets Sep 4 '11 at 9:00
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