Explanation of question

The following table illustrates the issue:

enter image description here

HTML source for table:

 <thead><th>Column 1</th><th>Column 2</th><th>Column 3</th></thead>
 <tr><td>Type 1</td><td rowspan="2">Common Info</td><td>Info 1</td></tr>
 <tr><td>Type 2</td><td>Info 2</td></tr>

You'll notice that it isn't clear that the non-header cells in the first column map to their corresponding cells in the third column, because of the cell merging. In my opinion, for conventional information tables formatted in this way, such cell correspondence exists, but the above presentation method doesn't do a good job of indicating this.

A possibly good way to present...

If I could mark-up the following table design using HTML, such that the cell entries were not images, then I believe such mark-up would yield a good way to present such information:

enter image description here

Unfortunately, I didn't use HTML to create the above design—I just used a simple raster graphics editor (Windows Paint) to create it.

  • 2
    This post has multiple questions. Implementation questions regarding markup or markdown are out of scope of this channel. If the question is regarding good visual alternatives to the problem, that may be within scope. The question will need to be modified.
    – Ren
    Jun 14, 2019 at 13:15
  • Guide to How To Ask (ux.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask)
    – Ren
    Jun 14, 2019 at 13:31
  • Have made post changes so that the post more closely follows the guidelines. If revised post is now okay, please delete your comments so that this page is easier to use by users.
    – user127749
    Jun 14, 2019 at 13:57
  • Any reason why the merged cells cannot be moves to the first column?
    – Nicolas
    Jun 15, 2019 at 2:48
  • 1
    Hello @NicolasHung, yes, there is a reason. The first column is something like a key column--it's correctly the first column rather than another column. Now that you have asked this question, I actually think it is okay to swap the second & third columns for my particular situation--it even seems to make the content better presented for my situation. Thanks.
    – user127749
    Jun 17, 2019 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


Why not just swap the position of the columns?

Now users can figure out the Type 1 <> Info 1 relationship more easily

enter image description here


enter image description here

  • Added an alternative. Question - is the common info relevant to col 1 alone? Or to all columns ?
    – thinkdj
    Jun 18, 2019 at 15:48
  • 1
    Thanks @thinkdj. In my particular case, previously columns 2 & 3 were one column. However, for readability & usability, I decided that I wanted to split up the columns & do such cell merging. Think about the table as being a database table. Column 1 is the key field identifying the table record. Columns 2 & 3 are attributes recording information for each of the records.
    – user127749
    Jun 18, 2019 at 16:13

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