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I am trying to display data similar to coinmarketcap with prices for coins, some above 1$ in which case they are rounded to 2 zeroes, some below 1$ in which case they have 4 digits following the decimal. I saw a bunch of posts here where people have suggested to use right alignment for numeric applications/prices

Approach 1 Decimal aligned

 1. $13,700.05
 2.      $0.0048

Approach 2 Right aligned

 1. $13700.05
 2.   $0.0048

Which of these approaches do you suggest? Thank you for your time

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It seems to me that your first approach (decimal aligned) is pretty obviously much more readable. The amounts are much easier to perceive because of the same position of digits of the same significance and so it is much easier to quickly spot lager differences of the numbers by just scanning the table. Only if none of this is relevant in your design, but you are e.g. extremely constrained with space only then I would probably consider the second option (the right aligned one).

  • thanks man, have you seen coinmarketcap, my structure would be similar to theirs, you think decimal aligned would make sense for them :) – PirateApp Jan 1 '18 at 11:33
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    Yes, US Department of Defense Design Criteria Standard: Human Engineering (MIL-STD 1472) 5.14.3.5.10 "Justification of numeric entry" specifies: "The computer shall... justify with respect to a decimal point if present." (denix.osd.mil/shf/references/military-standards/…) – Michael Zuschlag Jan 1 '18 at 17:52
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The decimal places are important for conveying both the value of the digits before and after it, so the numbers must be decimal aligned if you intend for the user to be able to compare the values of figures easily.

It should not be hard to tell that with right alignment the user needs to scan across to find the decimal point first before being able to compare the values while decimal aligned values are very easily comparable.

You will need to have a very good reason to right align the numbers, and I don't think sacrificing usability for spacing in this instance is a good trade-off.

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