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Assume a list (timeline) like you have in a mobile app like Path, Google+ or Facebook. The list is heterogeneous, the list items may be

  • photos
  • links (expanded snippets)
  • texts (status updates) and many other kinds.

What could be interesting replacements for the standard scrolling lists, which could be more immersible and beautiful? I could think of different sized items in a grid (like in Windows Phone 8 tiles, or GridOS), which could be paginated (rather than scrolling). But it may not look good if all items are small (1x1). The facebook timeline was also a little different from the normal lists. Flipboard had an interesting UX, but again the item density was very low (each page shows 1 item). Looking forward to interesting suggestions.

Update: @Jon The problem with a vertical list is that the trade off between content density and readability is low. If each list item take the whole breadth of the screen, then the only way to 'project' (add weight) to a particular entry is by increasing its height. So the number of items that can be shown per screen goes down. In a windows 8 tile like interface (for eg.) you can add many heterogeneous, multi weighted items at high density.

@Jimmy Lets assume the list contains a timeline (like in facebook, path). And browsability is higher priority. At a glance we should be able to see important items, even if the time/date granularity is not clear.

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How would the user be traversing the group? Would time / date matter? Do users need to know the time of a photo / piece of content in granular detail? Will users be comparing the content of any item with another when making any decision (even if that decision is just which item to choose?)? Have you already tried any solutions for your purpose - if so, which ones, and why didn't they work? –  Jimmy Breck-McKye Sep 20 '12 at 15:14
    
What is wrong with a long list? What would be the criteria of what option to go with over another? This is quite a subjective question, I'm not sure we can answer it with anything that could be deemed a 'correct' answer without some more context. –  JonW Sep 20 '12 at 15:14

1 Answer 1

How about an irregular grid, like Pinterest (vertically irregular) or Google Images (horizontally irregular)? If the order of items isn't strictly predefined, you can dynamically rearrange your items so that the rows have the same total width, like in Google Images. With a grid that's irregular on both dimension it may be harder, but shouldn't be impossible, especially if it's endless vertically.

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