We are working on functionality with three layers of data hierarchy, where data and settings are inherited or 'inherited' from higher to lower layers. This indicates a parent-child relationship within our data models. The challenge we are experiencing now is to clearly and intuitively visualize this hierarchy and the origin of the data for our users. We want them to quickly identify what level the information is coming from.

How can we visualize this complex hierarchy of data and settings in a user-friendly and understandable way? What UX/UI principles and patterns can we apply to ensure the inherited relationships are clear to our users without confusing the interface?

The current visualization shows a symbol next to every item on every table row to indicate where it's coming from.

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1 Answer 1


Google Analytics and Mixpanel have very good examples of this in play (see screenshots below):

mixpanel event flow

The above is Mixpanel's event flow. An example, the user opens a message and then plays a video that's probably in the message.

google analytics page flow

This graph is much like the one before, but it shows how users have been traversing your site's pages. One flow describes a user going from the home page (/) to the contact page (/contact-us).

So what you end up with is different "generations" of data of different starting points, describing user behaviour.

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    A minimal explanation of what answers the question would be ideal.
    – Danielillo
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 21:37
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    @Danielillo I just realised that in my head I know what that is, but the OP might not. Thanks, let me update. Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 21:39
  • @Danielillo done Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 21:47
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    Thanks, and highly appreciated for providing me with examples, Kitanga. And give you a vote up, for thinking a long. A bit more context from my side. How it now works in the legacy software is that the data is separated on three levels (also permission based), and every page got its own table with components up to 50+. Every component is on its own row; you can see the heritage of where the 'component' is made or adjusted.
    – YengarIV
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 5:27
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    And every single element of a component can inherit the above levels... It gives me headaches, haha.
    – YengarIV
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 5:42

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