Is there a "proper" name for the UI wherein it has multiple columns, and as you interact with the first column, the second column gets populated with with appropriate data? These columns act as a filter of sorts to determine what content to display in the next column.

For example, the first column has a list of countries. If you select USA, then the next column contains a list of US states, and so on.

In mobile devices, these generally appear as a list of navigation item with an arrow pointing to the right. You click an item and you are taken to another "page", and so on.

I'm asking because I need to find a jQuery plugin to do this. I also have some technical questions about it. But first, I need to know what this thing is called.


3 Answers 3


Sounds a bit like a Miller Column? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller_columns


In Mobile, it's called drilldown, and it's pretty much default in jQuery Mobile, you basically define lists with links and it's done.

On desktop, the proper name might be Miller Column, but it's more frequently referred as column navigation or column view, so does in this jQuery plugin.


The book Designing Interfaces refers to this UI pattern as "Cascading Lists" (Chapter 5: List of Things).

Example of Cascading Lists:

Cascading Lists

Its principle is to:

Express a hierarchy by showing selectable lists of the items in each hierarchy level. Selection of any item shows that item's children in the next list.

Another example of this book is the same application as in the "Miller Column" wikipedia page given by Captain in the other answer.

So there might not be a single general term that everybody uses to refer to this UI pattern, but "Cascading Lists" is at least something that can be easily understood by everybody.

You may take a look to this link for further reading (link given in the same book): Quince UX Pattern: Cascading Lists

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