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My users need to see current and historical data.
The photo below shows the current way of doing this is using a table. (Dummy Data)

I thought of using a tab for stores that are currently in business and using another tab for the stores that have closed. But my users want it all on one screen and in such a way that they don't have to scroll a lot or click things to collapse/expand elements.

The solution I've got in the photo below becomes a problem when you have multiple store names and each store has multiple states that it is in. It can become extremely lengthy.

I'm curious if anyone has another idea to display this information. Thanks, in advance!

enter image description here

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  • Welcome to the UX forum on StackExchange :) To be able to help you better: how are users benefited with the above data (store name, states, open and close date)? Why do they want current and historical data displayed? – Constantina Jun 11 '20 at 23:20
  • Also, do historical and current data share the same columns? Are there any additional columns/data than just the ones seen in your image? – Constantina Jun 11 '20 at 23:22
  • I can’t share the actual data or column names that my users see due to security policy. So I’ve substituted these column names and data. This table is currently mixing the historical and current data. In this situation the close date column represents when a store has closed. If a close date exists in the sub-row then that is historical data. If the sub-row doesn’t have any text in the close date column, that represents current data. The users prefer to see this historical and current data on the same page and within the same viewport if possible and without having to make additional clicks. – Nate Thompson Jun 12 '20 at 2:09
  • @Constantina response above^ – Nate Thompson Jun 12 '20 at 2:10
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Point 1 - How to get useful information from users

The way we ask questions to users, affect the way they respond to us and the information they provide. To save you time and frustration don't ask your users directly of what they need, they consult you because they need your expertise. Modify your questions to understand their current behaviours and frustrations, and how could that feature of yours alleviate their frustrations. For example:

  • How do they do things currently? What is their role/responsibilities?
  • If they already use or have used similar products or methods in their work - can they describe their frustrtations and gains? (considering that those methods are not good enough for them, to be in need of your product instead)

  • What do they do currently to overcome those frustrations? Why do they take that approach?

  • Why do they need a feature like yours? What does it offer them, in comparison to what they currently have or do?

Such questions are aimed for you to understand their current behaviours, responsibilities and frustrations in their job. None of the above questions asks the user to say specifically what they want or need in your product, or how to be displayed. That's up to you to decide after analysing your findings.

Point 2 - Another approach in designing your product feature

To describe the mockup below:

From my limited understanding so far, your users seem to want to be able to take a quick glance at data to get a preview of what is happening with their stores, but also the potential to dig into more specifics.

Considering that's the case, I would suggest dividing your data in two sections:

  • A quick overview in the form of a timeline, aimed at displaying the amount of open/closed stores per brand over a period of time. The user may also interact with any of those timepoints to get a quick figure of brands' details that are relevant to that specific timepoint.

  • If they want a more detailed view they can get that from the table data.

  • Filters are available to help them either get a broader picture or get down to more specifics. For example in the mockup below, the user has chosen to get an overview (graph) and details (table) of only Aldi and Walmart. By default, everything could be displayed - depending on your requirements and assessed feasibility. Additionally, the user can choose whether they want the filters to be applied on only the graph, or only the table, or on both (in case they want to keep a broad view in one, but a more narrow view in the other - depending on what they might want to assess each time).

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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Use a different color for the text or background of the table row. This specific color will work as a signifier of historical data. Don't forget to add a caption about what color indicates in the table.

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  • Care to expand your answer to include reasoning for why do you think this is a good solution. – locationunknown Jun 12 '20 at 10:16
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    thanks for the feedback, I have updated my answer. – Codesigner Jun 12 '20 at 10:57
  • One should avoid using color alone as the sole mechanism for communicating useful information. My dad has red-green colorblindness (a very common form), and he's mentioned before that though he can often see differences in many colors, he's gotten used to not relying on color for information. Because of this, he simply would not notice that some rows were displayed in a different color unless it's explicitly pointed out that a specific color means something in a given context. – maxathousand Jun 12 '20 at 12:49

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