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63

What was the right course of action here? Is there a point at which the user's fear of change becomes an important UX consideration in its own right? This is an interesting question - I believe the answer is yes. The core tenet of user centered design is considering the characteristics and needs of your users in your design. If the fear of change so ...


58

I don't know all the different ways of visually displaying a hierarchical list of 'nodes', but here are the four main ones I can think of: Stacks Columns Arrays Networks


50

People don't generally use hierarchical structures 'in the real world' -- it seems to be something that has been forced upon them, a technical remnant of the past. What needs to be understood is the way that people recognise and organise things. Our brains don't work in a hierarchical way (without generating a lot of heat). Instead, we recognise things by ...


49

Normally the users have a point. It may not be the point they think, but that does not mean there is not a valid issue at the heart of it. The choice of (a) "old way" or (b) "our correct new way" is rather stark. I have re-factored a lot of UI's and occasionally missed a much loved short-cut. Always found there is a way of blending the better design for ...


22

There are several problems with trees: A tree is a single taxonomy. This requires the user's mental model to match the software developer's mental model of the domain. Navigating with trees requires high-precision mouse accuracy to expand a tree without selecting the branch. This is also very difficult to manage with touch interfaces. Navigating trees ...


20

You are actually asking how to ensure better interaction design while combining two elements which are not UX-friendly: tree structures and pagination. 1. Tree structures Unfortunately, hierarchical trees are one of the most inappropriately used controls in the toolbox. They can be highly problematic for users; many people have difficulty thinking in ...


15

To my mind, the way we redeveloped it is unambiguously better. That's great, but "Better" does not always equal "Best". You may have thought you had "Best" before you received user feedback. However, the feedback you received should have thrown up red flags in your mind. What was the right course of action here? First, be willing to ...


12

An alternative that is used sometimes, is a Miller Columns view. The idea is that the subnodes for the selected item in column a, are shown in column a+1 next to it. A benefit, especially with trees that contain different types of nodes on different levels, is that each column only contains one a single type. That is easy to understand. One downside is ...


12

There are a number of options that can ease this, as the onus should not be on the user to feel they have to go and drop it in its original position - assuming they can even remember where that might have been. Undo/Redo One is to provide an undo redo capability. This puts users much more at ease in that they know even if they do drop something somewhere ...


12

Before ignoring the wishes of your users, you must first validate that your new solution is indeed better. The way to do this is to get a number of fresh, non-involved users of the system and test the existing and proposed options with them. When the uninitiated users prefer your new method, you have validated your approach, eliminated assumption and you ...


12

I'll take a different tack from some of the others on this. If users hate it then chances are it made their job harder instead of easier. Drawing an arbitrary line in the sand and saying that 75 items isn't worth doing text filtering seems silly as well. Real users interact constantly with the system you are building, where you only interact with it on ...


12

This is the however If the majority of users have rejected a design, it seems ludicrous for any UX professional to insist on that design because 'they know better what's good for the users'. Quite appropriately, the majority of the replies to your question follow that thinking. I would, however, like to offer an alternative take on this, which goes well ...


11

Like This? I'm picturing a vertical tree structure like one would see in an OS file browser (see below). Is this right? Stripes can Improve Usability I think horizontal stripes (or lines) can help, but the help they provide is most beneficial when dealing with a horizontally large tree or list. For example, in the image above, if I need to connect a ...


11

You pretty much want to go for one or the other extreme, where the extremes are: Explicit Save for Everything. Everything needs saving through an explicit command. Autosave Everything. Everything is saved automatically and instantly. You want the user to have as simple a mental model of the system’s behavior as possible. You don’t want to burden the ...


10

When your hierarchy is so large, there's no way to avoid clunkiness because it's there by design (large data sets are unwieldy). Miller columns with an "add" button on the bottom will be the most elegant solution here. They allow you to have as many hierarchical levels as possible while making selection process simple because they clearly separate the ...


9

A few considerations: What OS is this for (or is it for multiple)? Are there any constraints or known limits on your hierarchy? Is there a search option provided? No. 1 is important as you noted... because the Mac Finder would be foreign to most Windows users. No. 2 may provide assistance also. E.g. finder works good if you have a shallow tree, but if ...


9

Looking at the image, a few things come to mind: Flatten the hierarchy. Your hierarchy is deep, and (deep) trees are difficult to use Your tree is unclear, because it repeats the same nodes at different levels. Get rid of the repitition. For me, it is not clear what this actually means. Are you trying to represent a network in a tree widget? If you must ...


9

You're on the wrong path, here. The problem is that you try to show the attributes in different trees. The tree should contain the content. The attributes should be displayed as attributes to each node. This can be done in various ways depending on the importance of attribute. As a column: ...or: - As a popup dialog - By showing the attributes ...


8

Multi level pie menu Tree map Zoomable interface


8

For arbitrary numbers of levels: Cascading windows There are numerous possible presentations of tree hierarchies. The variants shown below are all from http://vis.stanford.edu/protovis/ex/, which is web based, but nothing stops the algorithms being used to render hierarchies in a desktop application: Google's Image Swirl is a web based tree ...


8

Let's break down your options: Always show the 'child' items. Visual nesting will be important here, using contrast to visually separate the items from the parent and alignment and proximity to visually group them. For example, see, this screenshot from Rally software, and notice how the tasks (TA*) are visually distinct from the stories: Note that you ...


8

Show only the current level of the hierarchy, and breadcrumbs


8

Showing the actions only on hover is the way that 37Signals do it in many of their products, and so far I haven't seen any problems with it, other than it not being usable on touch devices. That is a big downside if your customers are likely to be using touch devices. With the prevalence of iPads, this is becoming a bigger concern. Another possible method ...


7

Tree navigations is a simple and effective solution to discover hierarchical structures. I would test two different solutions. Accordion: http://ui-patterns.com/patterns/AccordionMenu Drilldown lists: http://mobile-patterns.com/lists Accordions work if you have flat hierarchies (e.g. one sub level). They keep the user in context and you don't have to ...


7

If you only have two levels, you could use an ordinary master detail approach. See #1 here: http://designingwebinterfaces.com/designing-web-interfaces-12-screen-patterns If more levels are needed, you could go for the drill down design pattern. Eg: http://quince.infragistics.com/Patterns/Cascading%20Lists.aspx If you want to keep every thing in the same ...


7

This is essentially a hierarchical table and is very common in project management and spreadsheet applications. Given the parameters that you have stated, I would absolutely include column headers. The folder level ("and this") number of downloads should be a roll up of the total number of downloads contained within as stated by @benvds. Example ...


7

Users reaction to change is an interesting topic, look at all the problems major services have when they update - Facebook/Windows 8/etc! Changes becomes a bigger issue where you have expert or repeat use users. They have invested in the process over time and will have developed a relationship with it. Even if the solution is easier from a pure usability ...


6

Visual Studio 11 has a function to search for symbols in the Solution Explorer tree view: See Visual Studio 11 (Developer Preview) IDE Improvements.


6

For certain types of hierarchies (such as nested text), a control that I call a 'NestView' might be suitable: This actually evolved from a number of answers given to a question on Programmers.StackExchange: http://programmers.stackexchange.com/q/87077/27103


6

Joshua Barron's on the right track with his leading answer. I do see some additions to make, but I'm not cool enough yet to add comments. Let's stick with the simple assumption that the new UI is better than the old one. That way, we're just talking about the Developers who are Right, and the Users who are Wrong. The key problem then is how do you ...



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