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i have a drop down list which contains different sort criteria. next to it there is a toggle icon (asc/desc).

should the sorting direction (asc/desc) apply to each sort key individually?

so if a user selects from a list "name" -> it will be sorted ascending (toggle button icon = ascending) if he selects creation date -> it will be sorted descending; (toggle button icon = descending)

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It is a bit hard to answer, can you provide an example of what you are working with? I.e.: do you have an spreadsheet alike table or a dropdown list with one key? Do you have one toggle icon for all columns? –  Lode Apr 11 '11 at 11:24

5 Answers 5

Having different sorting orders will break user's expectations, unless they can't tell if it's ascending or descending (i.e. the order is based on a business reason invisible to the user).

There seems to be a more important issue here, though. Why use toggle buttons for such lists? Choosing the 10th item will require 10 clicks and user won't see what all items are at a glance. Why not a dropdown or radio button?

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hi alllan,so there is a drop down list with the sort parameter key, a toggle sort button and they both influence a content list which is located below it. –  puppi Apr 11 '11 at 4:52
    
Sorry, I can't visualize :/ –  Allan Caeg Apr 11 '11 at 4:55
    
it is a table with one column and we squeeze the all properties in few lines –  puppi Apr 12 '11 at 4:52

If I got the current situation correctly, you have a table and one dropdown controlling the sorting column and a button to select the ordering, right?

Why not try the most common approach and select the sort column by clicking the appropriate header row?

  • it's familiar to users (nearly all file managers uses it)
  • the sort order is always visible
  • you can also support ordering by a secondary column, if needed; this needs to be indicated somehow
  • remember to change cursor style to indicate clickability!

example of table sorting by header columns

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at java: it is a table with one column but the properties are inside it it few line, so

item 1 property 1 property 2 property 3 property 4 property 5 property 6 property 7 property 8 property 9

item 2 property 1 property 2 property 3 property 4 property 5 property 6 property 7 property 8 property 9

we do not have much space in with so we can not use a wide grid table

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to java: it is a table with one column but the properties are inside it it few line, so

item 1 property 1 property 2 property 3 property 4 property 5 property 6 property 7 property 8 property 9

item 2 property 1 property 2 property 3 property 4 property 5 property 6 property 7 property 8 property 9

we do not have much space so we can not use a wide grid table

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I think you can solve it like this, by separating the toggle from the dropdown and associating it with the table itself. This way it won't seem so strange that the toggle remembers the states of the dropdown. enter image description here

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