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What's the best way to improve readability, when you have elements that change length like a name moving other elements, creating misalignment enter image description here

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By aligning the fields, you have just created columns. –  Dan D. May 1 '12 at 8:58
    
If u r using tables to display, then fix rows with a percentage, so that they can have alignment according to data –  sree May 1 '12 at 10:21

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Having the data arranged in columns (in a grid) makes it more readable.

  1. The user can scan down the columns looking for the data they want without having to search for the information on each row.

  2. If you use a grid control then you can introduce sorting and filtering of the data, allowing the user much more control over what information is displayed and how it's displayed - you might even be able to allow changing the column display order and visibility.

There is a limit to the amount of tabular data people can cope with, but you can get round this by allowing paging of your data so you only present 10, 25, 50 (or what ever) rows of data at a time.

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There are pros and cons which can depend on the circumstances...

  • Aligning the data creates columns, columns can be given titles and have separators between them.

    • This enables fast visual scanning for a value of a certain column

    • You can enable users to hide columns, sort rows by column values and filter rows by column values

    • This is suitable when the max difference in data length in each column isn't very long, otherwise:

      • You will end up with a lot of white space and will need alternating row styles or horizontal dividers to make following a row from end to end easier

      • You may end up with an extremely wide table (due to added white space)
        This can be addressed by creating mutli-line rows where the different columns are divided into lines (like Outlook's compact view)

    • Division to columns is suitable only if the types of values and their order are constant along the rows.

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