I'm working on building a new application for a company.

This company works with a lot of data, and as a result, their application requires them to work with numerous tables/grids.

In there current application, when they have a table with a lot of data/rows, they have a series of text boxes that allow them to build a search with multiple criteria.

In the application I am building, I have provided grids/tables where each column can be sorted and searched within by full text, >=, <= etc.

Is there any reason why one method would be better than the other?

  • Is there a requirement to search/filter on any data which is not displayed in the table? e.g. the table shows an item's Title, but there's also a long Description field which the user would like to search? Sep 11 '14 at 12:49
  • Nope, all required information is view-able in the grids.
    – Mark
    Sep 11 '14 at 12:50
  • Are you describing the difference between begin able to search just the entire table, and being able to search col by col? (I'm finding it difficult to visualize how this 'series of text boxes manifests. A screenshot or a wireframe would be helpful) Oh, and what's the point of the search? Why are they searching? Is there a further interaction with the data? Are they building "search view" to save?
    – dennislees
    Sep 11 '14 at 16:10

I always take a step back and question when I hear "This company works with a lot of data". And I hear it a lot. The hard thing is to actually know what to ask out of this data and what to present. That could help you as well.

  • Data Handling: Do they have so much info / data or are they multiplying things? (e.g. are they usiing two unique info, are they giving more than one adress, ... )

  • Use Flow: What does the user do with this data? According to what does the user decide what to do on this screen? One option could be presenting the data little by little according to what the user scenarios are and the user needs. giving someone's birthplace when selecting a customer out of the big pile could be useful but the phone number is useless.. pick the person fist, then go to the customer details. Pick the phone number.)

  • Business Needs What does the company want the users to do with this data?

I recently read this article that inspired me a lot. https://www.linkedin.com/nhome/updates?topic=5928542908167790592

About the grid / table question: When I am stuck with a big pile of things to search from I usually do initial basic search + filtering.

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