I have unlimited list of contacts. That list will contain my contacts plus shared contacts with me.

I want to know: It will be good practice to represent that list in carousel view. Or should i represent it in grid view.

which will be best as user experience perspective.

  • The standard for a list of contacts is a list, could you elaborate why you want to have a different solution? – Pesikar Mar 28 '14 at 8:13
  • Actually i am looking for alternative solution for contact list. So that UI part should look nice than representing with list. – Deepak Mar 28 '14 at 8:18
  • Carousel is fancy but not usually efficient for finding information in large set. How long does it take to find 3 specific names in both approach ? I'm guessing even typing names will be faster/easier than carousel. – ColdCat Mar 28 '14 at 8:56

Well, Carousel is an element that dealt to be with care as its application will create the "experience" that is rightly required. Why I say experience is that it really gives you a far better experiential feel than a list - sometimes its effortless (particularly on mobile the 'carousel' just feel's right as for the gesture it naturally prompts).

Now, you should not discount the feeling of tiresome and awkwardness that emerge when you are asking users to go swiping/clicking repetitively,particularly in your case of unlimited numbers.

Ask these questions for your problem -

  1. Why would I want a carousel? Because it feels so nice on aesthetic perspective?
  2. Will your user's like to get the data with minimal effort? Would'nt the list or grid be easy?

  3. What would be cause/effect of using a carousel? Am I tiring users?

  4. What that list/grid does'nt provide me so I need to use carousel?

  5. If I make users to click or operate less, would'nt I have made them see a complete view of the contacts and pick easily from the list?

  6. Do I have a particular context where dearth of real-estate space prevents me to show a grid view?

Except for the point 6 (even if this is rationally thought through), I do not find a better solution to have a carousel - so my recommendation would be not to go ahead with it, unless it has a purpose beyond these reasons.


In general, there is nothing wrong with displaying a infinite number of items in a carousel.

The problem arises by the nature of the data you want to display.

From "Designing Interfaces" p. 216 (Tidwell, 2011)

[Use when] Users will browse the items casually; they won't normally search for a specific item, or need to get an overall look at the entire list at once.

That means: if you simply display contacts as some kind of "overview" or something like a "suggested friends" feature - carousel is ok.

But if you expect the user to actually use the information, search it for specific contacts etc. then you'd rather choose a plain list or the thumbnail grid. But the thumbnail grid can have a similar problem: if you show only pictures without info like the name of the contact, the user probably can't distinguish between the contacts (pictures might be showing more than one person etc..).

You could offer multiple views on your data. But keep in mind that this should only be done if all views have a good reason to exist. That means that a grid might be totally useless if you already have an ordinary "picture + info" list.

Also always consider to give the user the possibility to search through the collection.

  • When a user come and see list of contacts. Then he will be try to access info quickly like mobile phone contacts. I think carousel will not be a good option to access info quickly. Am i right? – Deepak Mar 28 '14 at 8:12
  • @Deepak yes, you're right. If speed matters, you should not use a carousel. – Lovis Mar 28 '14 at 10:25

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