Currently i have an Android app with 3 level data grouping being displayed on two panes. Left pane contains the high level data, right pane contains an expandable list view (aka an accordion) that combines the next two levels.

Users of my app don't really care about the actual group name itself in most of the cases, only about getting to one specific item (no multiple selection). At the same time i want to keep the exploration aspect by having those group names there in a some way.

I've reviewed the tab approach as in the Google Play app but that seems to be a too lengthy journey (Searching through horizontally scroll-able categories) to get to a specific item on devices smaller then a large tablet. .

I am currently inclined on having a "Filter as you type" in the ActionBar to narrow down the results.

Here is a mock to demonstrate what i currently have expandableListView alternative question

Any thoughts on possible alternatives?

3 Answers 3


If the middle level of the hierarchy is the level you think users care least about, why not make that the one for which visibility is compromised? (If you are limited to 2 panels for 3 levels, then one of them has to be to some extent.)

An expandable list view on the left side showing your mid-level "categories" under your top-level "items", leaving the right side for showing your low-level items, seems like it would do the trick.


--left side--

v Item 1
Category 1A
Category 1B <
Category 1C
> Item 2
> Item 3

--right side--

Sub-Item 1Bi
Sub-Item 1Bii
Sub-Item 1Biii
Sub-Item 1Biv
Sub-Item 1Bv
Sub-Item 1Bvi

  • Thanks, isn't an option to me, but you had the deepest understanding of my issue. :)
    – SidhNor
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 15:26
  • OK. I hope the answer was somewhat useful (If so, you can actually upvote as well as accept). By the way, when you say "isn't an option to me", do you mean that it is impossible to pair an ExpandableListView panel with a panel of lower-order items (as in my mock-up), or just that there is some limitation on your app other than Android itself? I am curious because I have done a bit of Android programming myself. Also, if Android is the problem, I could look into a similar but possible answer. :)
    – A.M.
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 16:35
  • Hi, it is possible on android, but i disregard that as an option because that would break android design patterns IMO. (can't upvote yet)
    – SidhNor
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 16:38
  • Ah, guidelines linked to Android but not imposed...a 3rd possibility I didn't think of! (fixed ;) )
    – A.M.
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 17:03

Filter as you type -- not so good approach. Users are tend to ignore that option.

You have several, options (please check relevant question: Select multiple items from a very large list)

enter image description here

  • Hi Renat, thanks for your answer. I've update my question to be more specific. The problem is that i am already using option (5) from your image, where the Value 1, Values 2, etc are the expandable list headers
    – SidhNor
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 18:39
  • Hello SidhNor, you are welcome. What about option #6? It is simple, commonly used for file-system browsing, so users will easily recognize the idea. Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 0:08

It's hard to say without more context. For one, if your users don't use the groups then why have them? It sounds like the second tier is the group the user cares about for browsing. True?

Is there any reason to make them make multiple selections to get to the desired item, or can they just be exposed from the start? In the mockup below, you could have the groups expanded by default but collapse the sets for quick scanning. The groups could be arranged in columns corresponding to their width requirements and the available viewport.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • Hi plainclothes, thanks for your time, but this isn't really it. I've updated my question to provide more context.
    – SidhNor
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 0:55

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