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I am trying to find an intuitive way to show the Log/History information of the users actions on the application. The actions may include the following:

Type            | Date & Time            |  User       |  Details
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Update Profile  | 03/28/2012 05:10       |  John Doe   |  Update the User Profile
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Change Password | 03/28/2012 05:10       |  John Doe   |  Update the User Password
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New Order       | 07/16/2012 05:10       |  John Doe   |  Created a New Order #15044

What would be the best way to represent this information in the most easy and understandable way. Would a FB timeline based view be good to show or is there any other intuitive way to show this.Are there any sample applications that you can point me to that has an intuitive way to show this information.

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This really depends on who is using this log and in what context. I assume it's used by administrators? How do they use this information? –  Matt Obee Mar 27 '13 at 18:36
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4 Answers

In your mentioned problem, you have 3 columns which may be used to search for a particular record. Date and Time column may be vertically scanned to find a particular event, Names Column can be scanned to find name of a person and then there comes Description and you might want to scan that column to find a particular even or change.

In my given example, I have used visual spacing as a tool to make these sections (columns) easy to look at. Under Description, EVENTS are in bold followed by a : and then there is bit of description.

I hope this will address most of your requirements.

enter image description here

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Why not give user the option to lay it out as s/he pleases... Like drag and drop columns, (or any other way to sort columns, for that matter). Then save and load his/her settings.

I think every user has his/her's own context and preferences when reading, filtering, printing logs. Yes, I second Matt Obee has comment...

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There is more than one answer to your question as it depends of the functionality use case and its audience.

I understand the logic behind the Type and Details columns but they seem to be redundant for users as they deliver the same information. What about removing the filter column and converting it into a UI control filter with which users could specify which ones they want to see? A drop down with multi-select or what works best in your interface.

Also try to avoid repetitions as much as you can.

I have attached a couple examples using 2 references: timestamp at the top and users at the bottom.

I'm sure they are many other combinations.enter image description here

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Rather than you decide the format and content, leave it to user. Take the following as input from the user

Input:

Date Range - Input Mandatory

Type of Transaction (Pick List) - Input Mandatory

User (Pick List)

Based on the input entered in the above fields, query the log table and show the results. Provide sorting facility on the columns.

This query criteria makes user comfortable in getting the information he requires in the order he wants, rather than getting confused with the dump of log information.

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