What's the best way to sort lists on mobile interfaces? I'm not talking about filtering (I read another conversation about that). I am talking about sorting in ascending and descending order.

My project consists in sorting lists of , respectively: phone calls, mobile calls, films watched. the Sorting criteria are: Costs (of a call or a film for instance) Date & time of the call made or the film watched Duration Phone number (highest number first/lowest first) Call type (alphabetical or reverse order) Destination (alphabetical or reverse order) There are up to 6 of these criteria for each list.

I think I have different options: either a top button called "Sort", placed on the list. Clicking it takes you to a list of all applicable criteria. Or on the list itself, have buttons with a up or down arrow for each criteria. Each of them would be at the top of the list. Another option is to have a drop-down at the top of the page. I dislike it because you'll have (up to) 12 items (2 choices for each of the 6 sorting criteria) 'hidden' in the dropdown: harder to make a choice. On IOS the dropdown will open a rolling menu that will only show some of the choices at a time.

I wonder if anyone has an opinion as to what is better on Mobile?

  • This question is a little hard to answer as-is. What kinds of users will be using this interface, and in what scenarios? Why do they need twelve different sorting options? Are some of those options more useful than others? More of this kind of information will make it easier for us to get an answer that works for your specific need.
    – Sam Blake
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 14:01

2 Answers 2


Generally you will be constrained for space on a mobile device, and so I would tend to go for the option that is more space friendly and more versatile.

I would opt for a Sort by button rather than a Sort button, as the latter implies an action rather than a preference.

When someone selects the Sort by button, I would open a dialogue with the options that they have. I wouldn't have additional options for ascending or descending, but rather I would include that into the options. So some example options would be:

Price (low to high)
Price (hight to low)
Date (newest to oldest)
Date (oldest to newest)


If you are going to sort on one criteria, so you need to define your problem in another way. In fact, user has to make not 1 action - choose sorting, but 2 actions - choose criteria and then choose sort order. E.g. you can have 2 buttons - 'Criteria' and 'A-Z'/'Z-A' (indicating sort order). Press 'Criteria' to select criteria from drop-down list and make it the first column in result table, thus it's clear what the second button affects. It's good to set default order for different criteria, e.g. ascending to numbers and descending to time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.