1

I have an application which generates a table of information. One of the columns may contain more than one business name but often only contains one business name. Semantically, the column contains a list in each row. Instinct tells me to maintain consistency by displaying the business names in a bulleted list. However, it seems to me that it would be very puzzling to a user to see a table that happens to only have lists with a single bulleted list item in each row.

Here's an example of the type of data we're looking at:

|-------------------------|
|* UNIVERSAL LOANS        |
|* NATIONAL FIRST CREDIT  |
|  FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP|
|-------------------------|
|* DEWEY, CHEETAM, & HOWE |
|-------------------------|
|* BOB'S GROCERY          |
|-------------------------|

There is some UX guidance for bulleted lists (e.g., https://www.nngroup.com/articles/presenting-bulleted-lists/) but I have not found anything specific to this question.

How do I best represent a list of one list item, especially in the context of a table column which contains many lists of one or more items each?

  • What I'm imagining your display to look like seems like it would make sense, but it's hard to be sure. Do you have a sketch/screenshot/wireframe of what you're talking about that you could share with us? – maxathousand May 9 '18 at 18:36
  • Good point, @maxathousand. I've added an example. – AndyS May 10 '18 at 13:03
  • That example seems perfectly reasonable to me. I don't think that would be confusing, but you could get some easy feedback by showing a rendering to a few people and observe their reactions. – maxathousand May 10 '18 at 14:10
1

I think the "always bulleted" example looks reasonable:

|-------------------------|
|* UNIVERSAL LOANS        |
|* NATIONAL FIRST CREDIT  |
|  FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP|
|-------------------------|
|* DEWEY, CHEETAM, & HOWE |
|-------------------------|
|* BOB'S GROCERY          |
|-------------------------|

While seeing lots and lots of single-entry bullets might be slightly confusing, or looking like space is wasted:

|-------------------------|
|* UNIVERSAL LOANS        |
!-------------------------|
|* NATIONAL 1ST CREDIT CO |
|-------------------------|
|* DEWEY, CHEETAM, & HOWE |
|-------------------------|
|* BOB'S GROCERY          |
|-------------------------|

you'd only need to see a two-or-more-names entry a couple of times for it to make sense.

Also, given that a single-name entry could easily wrap, always having a bullet (and wrapping under it) ensures the two (wrapped) lines are seen as one name instead of two. Given:

|-------------------------|
|* UNIVERSAL LOANS        |
!-------------------------|
|* NATIONAL FIRST CREDIT  |
|  FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP|
|-------------------------|
|* DEWEY, CHEETAM, & HOWE |
|-------------------------|
|* BOB'S GROCERY          |
|-------------------------|

You know it's NATIONAL FIRST CREDIT FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP, whereas if you had:

|-------------------------|
| UNIVERSAL LOANS         |
!-------------------------|
| NATIONAL FIRST CREDIT   |
| FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP |
|-------------------------|
| DEWEY, CHEETAM, & HOWE  |
|-------------------------|
| BOB'S GROCERY           |
|-------------------------|

It could be mistaken for the two names NATIONAL FIRST CREDIT and FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP.

0

Horizontal option:

|------------------|
| Google           |
|------------------|
| Apple, Microsoft |
|------------------|

Vertical option:

|-----------|
| Google    |
|-----------|
| Apple     |
| Microsoft |
|-----------|

Lists don't have to have bullets - so long the visual layout is clear.

  • Thanks, @Izhaki! Unfortunately neither of those would work for us since the business names may contain commas and may be long enough to wrap. See the example I added in the original post. – AndyS May 10 '18 at 13:02
0

I just played around with alternating background colors and no bullets on list items. Since the first list item could always be the same background as the row itself, the single list items wouldn't have any inappropriate styling and multiple list items would still be easily distinguishable.

Alas, it actually looks pretty awful. :(

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