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I have a form showing financial information of a project in a web app. My client wants to capture the history of all the fields in the form. The problem here is: form is having fileds count of 100-300 or even more. enter image description here

They way i have designed the interaction is: I have provided a toggle hyperlink saying Show/hide history, onclicking the form will show a icon enabling the user to click on it which will bring a pop-up showing the history information like

Old Value: New Value: Updated by: Updated on:

But when i show history for all fields the form is looking really really busy and overwhelming for the user, ofcourse confusing.

How would you design this kind of Interaction.?

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What are the use cases for the history? Why and when would a user want to see it? Ask yourself /the client these questions, and you stand a much better chance of designing the best UI –  katDNA Dec 5 '11 at 7:15
    
Use Cases: a.Has someone updated my project… who, when and what. b. I know my budget changed last month, but can’t remember what it was let me look to see c.How many times the Project Budget allocation has changed and by how much –  Ravi Dec 6 '11 at 5:22

1 Answer 1

I would be thinking not just about showing a simple history of changes as a flat list, for the sake of ticking a box on the clients requirements, but also wanting to delve a bit deeper as to what the client actually wants to get out of seeing the history, and displaying that information in a format that makes the analysis of the data easier.

For example, does the client want to see the number of changes, rate of change, change compared to last week, last month, last year? Does the client want to export that data into another application to process it further or is it purely for getting a general overview. Would it help to display the information graphically on a timeline, or to provide an export (eg to csv, pdf, etc)?

We know what the client wants (or thinks they want) but what do they need? Chances are they have something in mind and they've asked for the history as a first step to ease that process, but they haven't given you the full picture?

So that aside, and moving on to the interaction, it strikes me that the view history toggle doesn't actually show and hide the history, it shows and hides buttons which give you access to the history, which is slightly confusing to a user.

Perhaps you could consider a panel which opens and closes above the data, which displays a timeline or graph of changes over the most appropriate time period, colour coded by positive or negative changes, or by user, or by whatever other criteria is deemed to be useful. Perhaps make it interactive if necessary.

The content of the timeline could change according to which column you click in the grid, and the selected column be highlighted accordingly.

As a very quick mock-up example, cobbled together from your image and a graph I found on google images.

enter image description here

But once again, I can't stress the importance of knowing how the history of changes fits into the bigger picture, rather than supplying it as a totally standalone feature which once implemented may lead to further frustration rather than being a smart and useful time-saving tool.

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Roger, thanks for the reply. History has to support the ability to product a “change” report on a periodic basis. It has to Show all/ some important fields that changed over the past period of time and tell that last time someone updated this project(who, when and what). Also, client will export the data for reporting purpose Use Cases: a.Has someone updated my project… who, when and what. b. I know my budget changed last month, but can’t remember what it was let me look to see c.How many times the Project Budget allocation has changed and by how much –  Ravi Dec 6 '11 at 5:23

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