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I am referring to the list of documents and then clicking on one and editing/viewing it on the right. Is there a better way to do this? This list probably won't be as long as it is in my example.

I don't think a modal would be appropriate for editing a list or drilling down like iOS.

  • Could you provide more information for what you are asking? Posting the question only in the subject line is also not advised. What type of cascading list are you talking about? Of what part of the screen shot are you referring to? Please elaborate on your question, this will help provide you with better answers.
    – Andrew
    Oct 15, 2014 at 18:44
  • Sorry, first timer! I am referring to the list of documents and then clicking on one and editing/viewing it on the right. Is there a better way to do this? This list probably won't be as long as it is in my example.
    – themack
    Oct 15, 2014 at 18:46
  • Not a problem! That's why I left the comment, to help you along and get you better answers.
    – Andrew
    Oct 15, 2014 at 18:47
  • Thanks man! I can't think of another option for handling this.
    – themack
    Oct 15, 2014 at 18:50
  • 1
    As a side comment - if the 'edit' button enables form editing, there really shouldn't be a save button - the edit button should change to save once pressed. Can you save without pressing edit?
    – Izhaki
    Oct 15, 2014 at 19:29

1 Answer 1


From what I gathered from the comments, let me make an assumptions to the application:
-The list of documents will not be modified frequently. Besides initial configuration, an administrator will not be using/modifying the list frequently.

Also, this answer is based off of the layout of the page/actions (as that is what I believe you are asking), not the design of buttons, or location of buttons.

To answer your initial question on whether or not it's a cascading list, it is not (but has potential to depending on how you plan on navigating).
Let's first state that we want the user to be able to accomplish their tasks with the least amount of clicks, and the most amount of comprehension and intuitive actions.
Now, a use case. Suppose the user navigates to this application and hits the Documents panel. Chances are, they are there to modify the All Documents tab (that can change depending on how you feel the users are using the application), so they will not have to click again on one of those tabs, it opens one automatically. So the user clicks Documents, and the All Documents tab is automatically selected, and the list of documents is already shown. At this point, modifying a document is only one more click (selecting the document to edit). Listing our action steps, we have:
1. Select Documents
2. Select Document to edit

These kinds of clicking actions make sense, and are intuitive. I want to modify a Document, so I click the Documents navigation (on the left), and then select the desired document.

I agree that a modal dialog for accomplishing this would be a bit much and cumbersome. With this UI, the user can easily navigate to the desired document to modify, but then quickly return to Home, or Products.

Additionally, this design has a good separation of functionality. There is a clear line between navigation, actions, and configuration, with having the "3-Panel" layout. And I know you said you weren't looking mobile, but it is good to note that a design like this allows for easy mobile design in the future (by ultimately making it a drill down, or a compressed drill down).

To answer your other question, is there a better option?
I might make the argument that there is always a better option, but those options typically only present themselves with time. A design that was great 10 years ago may not be great today. Based off what I'm seeing/hearing, this design would accomplish your tasks. So the question arises, have there been any negative comments to this design that you have received?

  • Awesome. Thanks for putting all of my concerns and thoughts down so eloquently. You were also 100% correct in your assumptions. I have not received any negative feedback. The owner of our company wants it to be AWESOME and while I find any UI work that may seem mundane for most people to be AWESOME, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing some other pattern that would be MORE AWESOME! Thanks!
    – themack
    Oct 15, 2014 at 19:34
  • Does it help/answer the question? Can I clarify anything mentioned?
    – Andrew
    Oct 15, 2014 at 19:35
  • Yes, it does. Working alone in UX and UI is hard sometimes. I am glad I found this community.
    – themack
    Oct 15, 2014 at 19:38
  • Oh, and what is this pattern called?
    – themack
    Oct 15, 2014 at 19:38
  • Glad to hear it! If it sufficiently answered your question, you can mark that post as the answer. Additionally, you can vote up an answer to help it be more visible to others trying to find the answer to a similar question. Can't tell you how many times it's helped me as well. Stack Exchange has many other sites to get help too, you can browse a quick list at the bottom of the page. In regards to what this pattern is officially called, I do not have a name to place with it, unfortunately.
    – Andrew
    Oct 15, 2014 at 19:45

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