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As is the case with most SaaS, there is sometimes simply too much data to fit on one section of a page. On the desktop app, we use a standard table view of data. On the mobile app, we use cards in place of a table as they are traditionally hard to read on mobile.

We have begun to run into a problem, where we are running out of room for necessary information within a table view on the desktop iteration of the software. My idea is to convert the tablular data that exists on desktop into cards similar to how they exist on mobile, so we can free up some space and unify some of our mobile concepts with the desktop iteration.

However, each card item takes up a bit more real estate (approx 4 lines of tabular data to a card) than a simple item within a table. By converting the items to cards, we can view all necessary information, and each card can grow as we continue to add info to these tables. The feedback I have gotten is that there is a concern about scroll time.

Out of the 200k+ userbase, there would be a maximum of 30 items on this page as it is an underutilized part of the interface.

Is "too much scroll time" enough of an issue to shoot down this idea altogether? How would one handle too much information on a table without truncating text or using icons in place of text?

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  • Why can't your tables have a horizontal scroll on them too? Couple that with the ability for users to re-order and choose the columns and the problem goes away. Personally I find cards to be horrible for grid type data. Often when you have grid data you want to scan a specific column, not have to process each card and find the value you want before moving on to the next one.
    – musefan
    Jul 23 at 14:49
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    The solution to information overload lies often in taking a step back and rethink IA, content strategy, workflow etc. As users can make you think they want everything directly at hand all the time while they actually don't think and work that way.
    – jazZRo
    Jul 23 at 14:51
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It's helpful to start by understanding what your users are doing on mobile vs. desktop. If they're not physically in front of their computer, why are they checking the app, and what information do they really need? You can always add the bulk of the heavy data to detail views and see what feedback you get by removing most of it from the cards.

Design for the tasks rather than the data, and that should help lighten the payload.

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