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Currently, in an each of the rows of a table I have an arrow attached.
Which, depending on whether the some number on its right has increased or decreased from the last time, changes its direction; thus, users don't have to click on a row and check the popup menu to figure this out, and they can just see it right when scrolling over that table.

My arrow also changes its colour - from bright orange, to dark almost black colour, depending on when was the last change committed to that row's number.

I thought it's okay and pretty intuitive, and my client understood what arrow directions mean, but didn't understand what colours do.
I also think they didn't even notice the difference between them (the colours)
(Generally, all they've been looking at for their life in computers was Excel and iOS ui, so my web app's UI is unusual for them.)

Here is the picture of what it looks like right now (Arrows on the left): enter image description here

I need help in figuring out how to make these arrows more intuitive, so that I won't have to put a "map legend" somewhere on the page (they should tell how far in the time were last changes committed, and they also should show a direction depending on whether change was positive or negative).

Thanks in advance.

  • When I started reading your description, I thought: "Yeah, the colors probably mean by how much a number has changed," only to learn that I was wrong in that assumption. ;) Hence, I second xul's suggestion below to include a literal time tag in the context of the row. Here's one caveat, though: consider placing the arrows next to the numbers, because where they are now, they might be confusing because they almost look as if they are expand/collapse arrows. Which, of course, they are not. – JochenW Oct 26 at 22:53
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enter image description here

Standard way to symbolize trend / number change in this kind of chart is with red and green color, for negative and positive. You can place some small arrow next or in the box, as additional visual clue. For the time, you can just place number info with S-M-H-D-M-Y marks, from second to years, depending on what you need.

  • Perfect! Thank you. – Nick Oct 23 at 15:36
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    You can even use a different amount of arrows to display a bigger or smaller change. – Adriano Oct 24 at 23:05
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I would try using the total space in negative to give the color a larger reading area:

enter image description here

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    Wow that looks cooler now, but do you think colors I chose (Orange to brownish or whatever) are okay? Or maybe there is some better, more instinctive and natural color range to that? – Nick Oct 23 at 15:24

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