A colleague of mine recently showed a single entity, in a grid. In this form, we have three sections:

  1. A section which shows the main entity (say a school)
  2. A section which shows a vote form (each student can vote for a school)
  3. A section which shows the votes of other people for that single entity (for that single school)

Now, my colleague shows that single entity (school in this example) in a grid. I rejected this design, as I think grid semantically means a mesh, a tabular representation of data. But I have no solid reasoning to support that "showing one item in a grid is bad design and results in bad user experience".

What reasons can we bring forward?

  • Are there times where there can be more than 1 item in that same grid? If so, I'd lean towards leaving the grid component to promote consistency, i.e. sometimes you would visit the page and it would have a grid, sometimes it would have a completely different layout Dec 8, 2013 at 15:20
  • @ChrisMontgomery, it only contains one, and only one item. Not zero items, neither more than one items. The cardinality/quantifier is {1}. Dec 8, 2013 at 17:47
  • 1
    Does the grid have a vertical scroll bar, and/or space for multiple lines? If not, how does it look different from a bunch of labelled fields? Are these values read-only?
    – CL.
    Dec 9, 2013 at 9:33

1 Answer 1


Explain to your colleague that every data representation has its own purpose.

  1. A grid is supposed to be used for displaying a collection of multi-dimensional elements. For example, a Market Watchlist.
  2. A List is supposed to be used for displaying a collection of single-dimensional elements or multi-dimensional data represented into a single cell to create a grid-like structure with a single column. For example, any top-list like: list of online users, search suggestions, etc.
  3. A Badge is what you usually use to display information about a single object with multiple properties. For example, a stock information tile.

Also, if you decide to show a table that contains a single entry at all times, then it just makes the representation too linear to engage the user.

Hope this helps!

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