I have 4 different types of external logging data that can be opened in my desktop application. They are displayed as tables. Each of these have a few columns in common (e.g. timestamp), but most of the columns are completely different to the other types of logs.
Since it would be useful to view 'combined' versions of these tables in one single tab, I would like to implement this feature, but I'm struggling to find a usable solution.
Please comment if the use-case is unclear.
I've come up with 3 ideas, but I'm not satisfied with any of them, to be honest. Please feel free to suggest another option. Which way is the best to go about this problem?
First Idea: Naive Combination
Just add all unique columns (over 30 if all 4 types are opened in my case) into one table. While the visibility of columns can be toggled, it would still display many columns, because as I mentioned most of them are unique.
- Easy to implement ;)
- Way too many columns.
- Contents of unique columns will be separated. E.g. all data of log type A might be on the left side of the table, all data of log type B on the right side.
Second Idea: Stacked Columns
Let's say I open two types of logs.
The table header will then consist of two rows: one for log type A, the other one for log type B. Each row contains the columns for this type, if they are unique. For non-unique columns two header rows would simply be merged into one.
The position of columns would be configurable for each header row. Resizing on the other hand would not.
- Maybe hard for the user to understand at first.
- One cell of a column can contain other type of information than the one below, for example. For this I could either slightly color the rows for identification of log type or add a textual/visual identifier of log type as the first column. (or both)
Third Idea: x Tables in one tab with a ghostly scrollbar
E.g. Put 2 tables side-by-side, synchronize scrollbars to be at the nearest same timestamp.
- Probably easy to understand for the user
- Self-moving scrollbars
- Each table might only be able to display portion of columns
- What if 4 types of logs are opened? Would a 2x2 grid be displayed?
- In the end just an even worse version of Idea #1
Fourth idea: Your turn