I have a problem in which there is a table that does not have a predefined amount of columns or rows. i.e., for both the X and Y axis there is no limit. This invites a high probability of the user encountering a side scroll interface.

The table has been created so that user can make selections by column and row.

i.e., for Row A, I select Col A, Col B, Col X.

With both X and Y axis variable, and the table serving the purpose of a multi-option check list, has anyone experienced an interface alternative?

I am thinking about card selections. I.E., a user selects a card and then checks options vertically rather than horizontally. I think this will be a more pleasant user experience, but then the user is no longer exposed to every row at once, which can be helpful for understanding the dynamics between the rows.

Any other ideas?

Excel example which aligns with current (problematic) interface: enter image description here

Topic with solution A (i.e, the card select solution): enter image description here

  • 1
    In which ways does your app behave like Microsoft's Excel? Maybe pulling some functionality from there can help you out. Also, is there a way you can illustrate your problem?
    – invot
    Mar 20, 2018 at 18:11
  • 1
    Thanks for your reply. Added some pictures. Let me know if that is enough context.
    – Fritz
    Mar 20, 2018 at 20:02
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    One more question: What is a user trying to accomplish with this table? (If there's multiple uses here, could you explain each use case?)
    – invot
    Mar 20, 2018 at 20:07
  • For each topic they need to select 0, 1 or many options. Lets say, the topics are people, the options are different types of sushi. Problem: horizontal scrolling most likely will happen with the current interface as there is any number of types of sushi.
    – Fritz
    Mar 21, 2018 at 1:44
  • This question was asked few months ago. Did you already build your own solution? If not, what I believe is missing is a sense of understanding why people are doing this. What is it that they are trying to accomplish? Only then can this question be truly answered. Sep 26, 2018 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


I guess it isn't so much that you want to avoid side-scrolling, but more so that you want to avoid horizontal and vertical scrolling at the same time, which to my knowledge there hasn't been an interface designed to handle it well at all.

You solution to create two columns of content for the user to scroll through is one of the ways to solve this problem. There's not much you can do about the fact that you can't constrain the amount of information that needs to be contained, and the way it is used.

Providing a zoomable interface allows you to move to another x,y point in the table quickly, but then you loose all the resolution on the details that you need to know where you are at. So this approach solves one issue but creates another.

Allowing the user to search and filter through the table so that they can create and save views that give them just what they need to see is the ideal solution, even though it is not always feasible to do this if the result just ends up being a slightly smaller version of a very large table that is still hard to navigate.

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