I'm working with a UI where users can create records that represent people. The user enters multiple fields (Name, Age, Married status), but I'm wondering how I should display duplicate data.

It could be possible that there are multiple entries with the same data. In this case, does it make sense for me to display the IDs the database generates? Would this help the user differentiate these records?

  • 1
    What does your users do with the data you are showing? Do they need to differentiate data entries (by id or some other way)? Apr 16, 2019 at 5:35
  • Actually no, but in case there some people with almost the same name, like "John" and "Jhon", I would I like to them they are different people, for example.
    – Breno
    Apr 16, 2019 at 10:41
  • When you say "users can place many of a single person", do you mean that they can enter the same name multiple times if, for example, there are multiple Johns, or do you mean they're actually creating multiple entries that represent the same exact person? Apr 16, 2019 at 13:15
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    @Breno, I've reworded your question, I hope you don't mind. People can get pretty eager to close questions if they see any kind of implementation details, even when there's a UX question at the heart of it. Hopefully I've still captured the essence of your question, but please feel free to edit your question if I misinterpreted anything. Apr 16, 2019 at 13:20
  • @maxathousand even if all the records are completely different from one to another, I think showing IDs would be a good deal. I guess that may be multiple records with similar names and data, and then showing something that completely differs each one is a good thing.
    – Breno
    Apr 16, 2019 at 14:02

2 Answers 2


Find out the priorities by which people search, and how they differentiate by subsequent queries when they run across duplicate records.

The UUID from the database can be useful, but only if the users have prior knowledge about a record: they've used this ID before, they've memorized other distinguishing information that they associate with the ID, etc...

Who is searching for this person, and what do they know?

If I know a persons name, age and marital status, that could be the beginning of my query.

After that, I might look for their location (if given).

Or, if the search has no additional data to surface, I will have to look at the detailed history of any activity or operations performed on this record.

A database ID is only useful to me once I've established that it represents exactly the person whose record I need to access / perform operations on.

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  • I appreciate your answer and liked it very much (although my upvote can't be shown)
    – Breno
    Apr 16, 2019 at 14:23
  • My original post was quite different from this edit, I may edit again later (even if, in essence, it hasn't changed much). And for what you said, I am likely to show the IDs.
    – Breno
    Apr 16, 2019 at 14:26
  • @Breno From a layout and hierarchy perspective, you can surface the ID, but as a subtle field. That allows users to maybe copy the ID for exact retrieval at a later date, but still see the human attributes we normally identify somebody with.
    – Mike M
    Apr 16, 2019 at 14:29

In this case we will need to understand how users are sorting the data and which fields are important to them. If they are primarily looking for record id, probably while trying to match the same from somewhere else, then yes it will become a priority feature. If the users are not keen on sorting or searching by the record ID, it will be better to leave them out of the table.

As for multiple entries from the same user, i would suggest to group them if possible. Then again, this depends on the user sorting and search behavior. If the users search by name then we should group the activity. If they are mainly concerned with the time of activity then not grouping them would be better to help them scan quickly.

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