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my question may be rather confusing without the context, please allow me to explain and I will really appreciate it if you will give me your suggestions and insights :)

I'm currently designing a part of our in-house portal and there's this page where I show a table of data such as the statuses of our devices. This data can be changed according to the user's needs, such as if they want to see the data for the month of June, they can select 'June' and the data will change accordingly. Then, there is the export button that will export the data using the information on the table, into another format via csv. Ideally, I should show the data for easy reference and from what I researched, it is the convention.

However, I was questioned (most likely due to efficient use of resources) if the presentation of the data is even needed. Because the user simply needs the exported csv only. Which is also true because assuming that our portal does everything for her accurately, she doesn't need to check and refer to the table. And if she wants to check, she can just look at her csv and edit from there.

Hence, I'm stuck. Because sometimes conventions aren't the best but at the same time conventions are what people are used to.

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As I see it, it's a "nice-to-have" issue if you show the data for the user to check it. Being true your affirmation that the user just want the data to be exported it is still desirable to check out before doing so because if what you are seeking is a good UX approach it would be easier for the user to see the data within your app than having to load the csv in a different app just to check if it is the correct set of data he needs and that he didn't committed any mistake when selecting what to export.

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  • Hi Simibiosis, thank you for your reply. Yes, I think you are quite right that it is a 'nice-to-have'. I came to this conclusion after thinking about it too, and I asked my development team and it doesn't take a lot of effort to develop this. So I guess in the journey for good UX, it'll be easier for them! Provided if the criterion isn't about efficiency because if there's lots of data to be loaded, it'll take up time to load (I guess...)
    – Cassie Ho
    Jul 29 at 3:21
  • That's a case of choosing between the UX and the efficiency. If it would be for the user, for example, irrelevant or not so interesting data it would be better to choose the efficiency but if the user really need the data it doesn't matter if it is a great amount of it. At least it would not be a problem for me if I was really interested in the data.
    – SIMBIOSIS
    Jul 29 at 15:10
  • Thank you Simibiosis for your reply. Yes, I think for UX designers then we should prioritise our users, so I should discuss with my PM about it and come to a consensus! Thank you again :)
    – Cassie Ho
    Jul 31 at 14:06
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I think it's important to realise that you already are showing the user the data before the export it.

If the user wants to review the data before hand, they will do that with the data you are already showing them. Clicking export, just to see another copy of the same data, is redundant. It is unlikely to be of any use for the user.

What I would suggest though, is that you give the user some export options (if you don't already). It would be good for the user to be able to choose between "exporting all data", and "exporting currently filtered data". The later function will simply apply the current filter that the user has selected on the visible data - in your example, this would be data for the month of June.

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  • Thank you musefan for answering my question. So I supposed showing them will save them some time in the sense that they could see if there's anything wrong with it before exporting, and they could edit it before they export. Instead of having to export, check, and go back to edit. Am I understanding your suggestion correctly? Oh yes, I think it's good to choose between that, however based on the use case of this page I think there's no need for exporting all data. But thank you, I should keep that in mind! Thanks again, musefan :)
    – Cassie Ho
    Jul 29 at 3:18
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Could you please provide any use case when exporting data, is alright if we do show the data? As well as when one can edit intermediate data? I think this could be used very rarely for some guru people who can read assembler code from punched tape.

Is it useful if graphics editor shows internal bits while exporting from jpg to png? I know that textual information is quite different but idea of using exporting software as well as all other software is to trust that it do things right.

I think that no need to show data. If user may be unsure what he is exporting you can provide confirmation question: Export June data? Yes/No

In fact there are use cases when showing and editing data is important - when it is a part of export itself in case no way to transform data fully automatically. But this is seemed not to be your case.

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  • Thank you Serg for your reply :) Oh yes, I think I should think about the use case of showing the data... And so I went to ask my user about it and there is a used case. So I guess then, I should put it? What do you think? Thanks again Serg for answering my question!
    – Cassie Ho
    Jul 29 at 3:24
  • I think that in general asking user and then make exactly what he answered does not necessarily lead to a good result. Oftenly user confuses fixing an inconvenience with solving a real problem. Asking what you need is not the same with asking why you need. Do you know use case when troopers ask for handy flask for water but their problem was solved with salty biscuits :) Sorry, but maybe I didn't understand right your comment as my English is fsr from perfect.
    – Serg
    Jul 29 at 8:44
  • No no, you understood my comment perfectly, thank you Serg for replying :) I think you are right! Okay, I guess I should think about it! Thank you again :)
    – Cassie Ho
    Jul 31 at 14:04

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