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We need to represent a time series of data. The problem is each item has multiple attributes that go along the time series.

In essence, it's something like this - a long time series for 100+ items. And every item has around 4 attributes along the time series.

mockup

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It feels for me that it won't be the best user experience. First of all, the table will grow too much vertically. Secondly, it may become difficult to compare countries.

Are there any recommendations around situations like that?

Is it better to show only few attributes in the table? Or is it even a better practice to show just one attribute per country?

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    If you have four attributes - population, GDP, budget, trade balance - then what about creating four separate tables? It will be easier to compare countries and you won't be mixing apples and oranges... – Jaroslav M Oct 25 '17 at 6:29
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If comparison between countries is an important use case, try restricting to one attribute, and consider a time series for visualization of trends.

Offer a visual view

Have you also considered offering more than one way to view this data? Offering a time series graph as an additional option:

  • allows more data points
  • can graphically show larger shifts at a glance (dramatic spikes of an attribute without having to parse numbers)

con:

  • you need some decent controls to be able to select / deselect countries (otherwise it will be quite dense)

Allow comparison by filtering

Since there can be potentially many data points (I don't know how broad a set you have), you could offer a selection panel that allows for a selection either by individual countries or even regions (i.e. South America)

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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