I have a grid of information (using jqgrid). One of the new fields is Rank. Its quite cumbersome to go in and edit each item and update the rank field and then have to update all of the other fields. I am trying to think of the best UI experience to update a set of rows in a grid that should be ranked 1 => N. My point is if i have a new row and its priority rank is #1, i don't want to have to manually update every other row to update:

previous 1 -> 2 previous 2 => 3 etc . .

Any suggestions.

  • I could misunderstand the issue, but if the problem has algorithmic solution, you could just automate it without bothering a user. Dec 13, 2013 at 20:50
  • The underlying rank saving and automated update throughout a list can certainly be solved with a computer, but I think also the question touches on the ordering of items by user defined rank
    – Toni Leigh
    Dec 13, 2013 at 20:58

2 Answers 2


Best user experience would be for user not to worry about any of the changes for the old items. The rank for all itmes should be updated automatically.

It is pretty trivial to do and here is a basic example with jqgrid on JSFiddle : http://jsfiddle.net/6f22u/embedded/result/

You can also implement drag and drop functionality that allows sorting of all the rows in the grid. You would have to communicate to the users that rows can be sorted by drag and drop. Here is an example from dojo grid that allows to do that with one or several rows at a time:

enter image description here


I would allow direct user access to the items, making each element draggable and positionable by the user so they can order the list as they see fit. The ranks can then update themselves automatically as the items are moved and can be saved when the user is finished ordering them. Better still than drag and drop is to stick the chosen item to the pointer on the first click and drop it into a position with the second. This second method is less common, but will produce less fatigue in the case of large list that needs ordering. In both cases the place the item will drop into should appear and should push the other items out of its way.

Then when you create a new item which is unranked you can drag into position, or you provide a rank value on create which would let an expert user add a rank and have the item programmatically appear in the correct space with other ranks updated.

Think of how you would organise a deck of unsorted cards if they were placed on a table in front of you, would you assign them all numbers then update those numbers individually until they were ordered or use your hands to push them around until they were in order? The latter is quicker and more intuitive.

As an afterthought, you might want to consider why you are breaking with a long held user interface standard for displaying ranked information?

When listing information ordered by rank, such as a high score table, sports league table, music chart or list of popular questions on Stack Exchange the list of ranked items is defined as a linear list with the highest scoring at the top. This is born out by numerous commonly used approaches, dating back 100s if not 1000s of years and you will need to have strong reasons for not doing this. Displaying this sort of information in a grid places cognitive load on the user as they are looking at a linearally defined information in a grid layout.

Your Answer

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

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