User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In my WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) application I have a log that display important events in the application.

I'm unsure where to add new events? Or in other words, how should I sort the log, with time descending or ascending?

The easiest way to implement seems to be to simply add the new logs to the top, then I don't have to worry about scroll in to view. But what gives the best user experience?

share|improve this question
WPF application? – Matt Obee May 8 '13 at 8:20
WPF, I expect. – vincebowdren May 8 '13 at 8:25
Latest post on top or bottom is a common discussion topic. See for example these questions:…,…,…. – JOG May 8 '13 at 8:47
Thank you for the links, I tried searching, but choose the wrong words I guess. Thanks – Karsten May 8 '13 at 11:07
Why are you logging? To have alerts taken care of, or to provide a history of what happened in the application so problems can be diagnosed by examining these events? – Marjan Venema May 8 '13 at 11:51
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would do it the easiest way: new logs at the top. Many applications with a dated list of items do their sorting this way; Outlook, gmail, twitter, windows event viewer, etc. Your users will be familiar with this style of layout, and find it easy to use - with the most urgent events immediately visible at the top.

share|improve this answer
Last does not (necessarily) equal most urgent. – Marjan Venema May 8 '13 at 11:51

You should present the most important information first, and so that will determine the order that you present the logs in.

For most logging applications, the most recent logs are more important, and so it's better UX to present the newest items first.

However, there are situations where each log is fairly long, and either the older logs are more critical, or where the oldest logs need to be read first. In these situations, the oldest should be shown first. This is often the case when logs are actionable items to deal with, which can then be dismissed.

share|improve this answer
Depends on the purpose for which the log is created. Even if it is to have warnings and errors taken care of, the importance may indeed rise with time past. If the purpose is to facilitate diagnostics by examining what happened in a system, chronological order is the only way to go. – Marjan Venema May 8 '13 at 11:54

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.