I'm having an issue with displaying a list in an overlay when there are a few elements on it. The business owner prefers to have the list shrink as the content is less. Here is my example : First version is how I think the list should be. Version two is how the business owner wants it ( the list to "grow" as it has more elements in it.) I'm thinking that having the list grow as it has more elements in the list is breaking consistency and oppose it as the user can go through multiple lists of these types and some might have 10 elements , some might have only 2 elements and resizing the list forces the user to scan everytime having to look either at the bottom of the screen, the middle of the screen or top.

What do you think it's the right behaviour in this case ? V1 or V2 ? enter image description here

  • I guess this is for a native app, maybe add some more tags to the question? Is it also an option to "shrink" it to the top? Latter would be more like expanding or growing to the bottom when more items are added.
    – jazZRo
    Mar 18, 2021 at 10:25
  • I feel this question is difficult to answer without having more context. Is this like a slide-out dialog menu? Does the user have to click/touch a button to make it appear? If so, where is that button located?
    – musefan
    Mar 18, 2021 at 14:51
  • Does the business owner have specific reasons or arguments? Mar 20, 2021 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


In my opinion, both can work and both can be puzzling. More important seems to me:

  • Embed your solution in the surrounding concepts. For instance, are headers always on the top of the screen? Is it possible at all to have a list that has not a header at the top of the screen?
  • Mark the important things: empty space, explored new options etc. In my experience, it is most often a good idea to mark empty space, like "No entries." or else.

Then, I think you need to create detailled prototypes in order to see how it really looks like at the end.

For instance, this could be a solution with a fixed size list (sorry for the silly design, it's quick and dirty):

enter image description here

This could be a solution with a variable list:

enter image description here

You see, as soon as there are detailled prototypes, the discussion goes off: This looks ugly, that looks fine, this is useless, that is very good guidance, this is not as we do it in all other screens, that would be good to do in all other screens, person A does not understand this, person B does not understand that.

At the end, it is more important how you guide the user as if the list is growing or not, isn't it?

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