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Users are presented with a categorized list of criteria for them to choose the level of importance. After filling out the form, how should I display their result?

The left table is easier to scan through the criteria but harder on the importance. The right table is easier to scan what's important but harder on the criteria.

here's a sample http://imageshack.us/a/img844/5448/criteria.jpg

  • Is the sample data representative of the amount of different categories and items? I would imagine that for larger volumes of data you should allow users to sort/filter results, and for small amounts of data it shouldn't make too much different (so use colours and text format to highlight instead). Also, does the value supplied have any impact on the weighting? I suggest not to use the term 'weight' at two different places on the same table as it can be slightly confusing. – Michael Lai Mar 5 '13 at 2:29
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Both, left and right options can be enhanced. Please also consider a tree-table as a possible solution, since you have three categories defined explicitly.

enter image description here

In some cases natural order can be used to emphasize the importance. Anyway, I would suggest the following:

  • to always sort data by importance
  • to avoid importance visualized as data (using data specific style)
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I prefer the right hand table but you are right about the mixed up features and sizes being harder to scan - but is that important? Is the grouping of criteria type important to the user? If so then perhaps if you used symbols to denote what type of criteria each item is then that could improve things - so a "feature" icon (reinforced with accessible color/shading) could help the eye group criteria more readily. Another option is having alternative views the user can toggle (by criteria type or by weight).

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I would stick to the left one, but adding two things: color coding for importance and perhaps a possibility to filter the summary depending on importance (tabs on top for low, med, high importance - if the screen is small, you can make the tabs stick to top of it).

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