In the following table the numbers represent the "downloaded" times the items on the left had been downloaded.

The product manager insists it's not a table but rather a tree because of the tree component. Therefore, I can't simply put a "downloaded" header named "downloaded" over the column of numbers"

I think it is a table

  1. What do you think?
  2. What solution can you provide to show the user the numbers are the "downloaded" times of the items



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  • What is the number against 'and this'? It says 34, but then it's 34 for each of the 'test' items within it, so I'd expect 'and this' to say 102. can you edit the wireframe to show how the numbers actually work in your current system, as I may be wrong, but as it looks it's just a bit confusing.
    – JonW
    Sep 8, 2013 at 17:26
  • 1
    It can be both i.e. "expandable table view" or "collapsible table view" or "hierarchical table view". Sep 8, 2013 at 17:37
  • Well it's not a real table but I can't see why you would not be allowed to have column headers. Sep 9, 2013 at 21:00

3 Answers 3


This is essentially a hierarchical table and is very common in project management and spreadsheet applications. Given the parameters that you have stated, I would absolutely include column headers. The folder level ("and this") number of downloads should be a roll up of the total number of downloads contained within as stated by @benvds.



download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups


It's not a traditional table because of the nested data. This means you should differentiate differently between "lorem" & "ipsum" (level 1 / level 1) and "and this" & "test" (level 1 / level 2).

For example this can be done with color. Having a black line between level 1 items and a gray line between level 2 items.

This also applies tot the downloads value. Where the downloads value of a level 1 item "and this" is 34, it's child items (level) should accumulate to that amount.

For example by adding an additional label before the number "total" and making the label and number visually less important (e.g. gray) and the subtotals of the same visual importance as the unfolded levels.


It is both a tree and a table. Given that the table has only 2 columns, I'd say it's conceptually more tree like than table like. But tree-table combinations have been around for a while although their complexity and rarity inhibit their usability - they can be difficult for people to understand. Having said that, a tree-table is often the best view/editor for an underlying data structure.

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