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I am working on a site, which displays statistical data about computers (disk, usage, etc...) and there is a web page, which consists of three columns: two smaller on the side, and a large one in the middle.

The right (small) column is a menu, which allows me to add a computer, modify settings, etc...

The left (small) column shows the list of computers, and the user can click on them, to display their usage statistics in the middle frame (the large column).

When the page initially loads up, the left and the right columns are populated but the middle one stays empty, and I think that I should display something there, to not to show the user a big empty nothingness.

What is your opinion, what should I put in the middle frame on page loading?

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can put some kind of a high-level view, providing relevant statistics, etc regarding your managed devices. Usually it is called a dashboard:

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BTW, it seems to be quite natural: if you provide a way to monitor a certain device, why shouldn't you provide a way to see the whole picture? It can be quite a valuable option.

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Think about what your user expects to see. There are two main cases:

  1. User see this page for the first time or work rearely with it.
  2. User oftenly works with this page.

In the first case it's more comfortable to have some help information where we are and what can we do here. This helps in quick start using the page - 'Select object from the right to see its parameters'. Everything is clear for the first time.

In the second case this message becomes annoying, as well as most likely visitor expects to see the object he viewed during last visit or maybe the object which was selected at another page just before going here.

So it's your choice who from two is your most likely visitor. But in any case, using cookie helps to adjust your site behavior and makes user more satisfied.

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