I have the following data with me:

enter image description here

In this, apart from the 10 columns - Shelter to permanent.., Target, Identified, Linked, Leased, Moved, Units to target, Moves to target, Vet population and status the columns that need to be added are Lead, Progress Made and Next Steps.

This will make the table to have about 13 columns.

I could probably do away with the status column and put a green flag or a red flag on the row itself to indicate the status but that would still leave me with 12 columns.

How can I make this more usable?

Also, the editable data in this (which can be filled in by the user) are only the rows starting from Misc. Affordable Units to Reliant. The row "total" updates when the user feeds in the values under different rows.

Please could anyone help me make this more usable, streamlines and understandable? Rough sketches would really help!

  • 1
    This is a very broad question with many possible answers but here are some questions I would ask: Does the user need to see all data simultaneously at all times? Does the user need to see all columns at once? Does the user need to see all rows at once? Is there some other way of representing the data other than in a table? Could you make use of interactive elements to reduce the complexity of the table view? Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 14:57
  • No, some unimportant data could be hidden in collapsible format. The data could be represented as a form as well where the user is made to fill the editable rows Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 16:40
  • Just to understand the answer required, are you saying that the structure needs to be preserved while the interaction or visual design can be varied? Or are you open to any type of changes (including structure) as long as the content/data is preserved?
    – Michael Lai
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 0:17

2 Answers 2


First of all, user needs to look in three different places for information on each category. Combine everything for each category in one place.

Next, if 90 percent use case is that status is "On Track," you don't need to keep repeating that. Only show an indicator if it's not on track.

Then, don't use columns when they are actually headings.

Taking these points and moving away from using tables for everything, you can convert this to a card format, which will be easier for the user to find information.

Make text at least 16px. Italics are too hard to read; use them sparingly. ALL CAPS ARE ALSO HARD TO READ to read for more than a few characters.

enter image description here

I would further suggest that if a data point is almost always n/a, don't show it on the card.


You may use this jQuery Plugin to make it more usable. http://victordarras.fr/heavyTable/

  • 1
    The question is "How can we make a data table with 12 columns more usable?", not "How can we implement a data table with 12 columns?". Care to rephrase your answer? Thank you! Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 12:08

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