I'm displaying both Sets (which contain Cards) and Folders (which contain Sets) on the same page. Ideally they'll both be tiles. I'm not sure how to make it easy for the user to tell the difference though, other than putting "SET" or "FOLDER" in the corner of the tile, which doesn't feel right.

Here's what I'm working with:

enter image description here

Note that both of these can be either a Set or Folder, this is a work in progress. Any tips/opinions would be awesome!

Edit: This is for a personal study tool - flashcards are grouped into sets, and when I have a bunch of sets that can be grouped, I'll put them in a Folder. I think this can help with "overall" studying too - like this:

> Folder "Thai"
>> Folder "Thai Level One"
>>> Set "Thai Sentence Structure"
>>> Set "Thai Basic Vocabulary"
>> Folder "Thai Level Two"
>> Set "General Thai Review"
  • 1
    Could you provide some more information? What are these sets and folders for? I think we need a little more to work with to answer your question. Thanks! Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 23:13
  • You can see confusion of having 2 kinds of containers. It would be nice to simply have a single kind of container. Can you describe the difference between sets and folders, and maybe a little background on why both are necessary?
    – obelia
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 0:05
  • If I'm reading this correctly. You seem to already have the visuals figured maybe just aren't seeing them. You have a single "card" - which can be stacked to form a "set" - which can be placed in a "folder". Imagine a deck of cards; when they are in the pack - it's a folder; when you take the cards out - it's a set; take a card off the deck - it's, well, a card. Is it possible to have an empty folder?
    – Josh Bruce
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 1:39
  • @JoshBruce - you're right. I'm just trying to make it obvious to the user. I suppose another word for Set would be "deck" - a collection of cards on a specific topic. A folder is a collection of decks on a general topic.
    – SB2055
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 13:47
  • @SB2055 - Then I would say, both and Dennis and Salman have given a pretty common UX pattern for doing what you are wanting to accomplish.
    – Josh Bruce
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 14:01

3 Answers 3


You have a couple of conventional patterns at your disposal for folders and set.

The tabbed top edge universally means "folder", and while it's not quite so universal, multiple or stacked items are readily recognizable as a set.

Here, "Thai" is a folder, and "History" is a set.

Folders and Sets

  • Exactly! Skeuomorphs save the day!
    – rk.
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 2:10

For SETS, use something like that.

enter image description here


In a flat search/navigation hierarchy, ideally you would want to show things that are on the same level of hierarchy, otherwise it can be confusing for the user to navigate. I think this is a case where the label is going to be more useful than graphical elements. So maybe things that contain sets can be capitalized (first letter or ALL CAPS) or use some symbol like '*'. You can also provide the number of items within the tile to provide some indication (not sure how helpful it would be).

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