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I want community's thoughts on product edit page. Currently it is two column layout; one with attributes and other with input boxes but I'm having an argument with my product owner who wants one more column (exiting/previous value).

He thinks: user wants to see what was the previous value. Since user base is not technical, and with third column they can easily see and compare current and new value.

What I think is: perhaps user is not technical but when he/she lands on edit page, They will find pre-filled input boxes and if they wants to edit, they can simple erase and type again. Although, they can't see/compare but I think third column is not necessary and it will reduce the clutters on the screen.

It is just a developer perceptions and experience but no solid thesis to prove.

  • What do you mean with "erase and type again?" If a text field is pre-filled, they can edit the previous content without having to erase it and start from scratch, right? For other field types, you should be able to show the previous value next to the field without needing a separate column? – Ville Niemi Dec 16 '14 at 9:21
  • I meant user can delete (using backspace and type again). I don't want auto remove on focus because it is dangerous. If you show previous value next to current one, virtually you are creating a new column – Hemchandra Dec 16 '14 at 10:59
  • Text of question suggested auto remove on focus - hence I checked. // A check box or selection would only require a small icon and subtle next to the control/selection to remind of the previous selection. A short number of 1-3 digits would fit next to the field, any of the text field based controls could have previous value with small font and different color under the field. It is really only the text areas that create an issue with clutter. With other fields, reminders might actually improve the looks, if designed properly. Sadly it is probably the text areas that he wants. – Ville Niemi Dec 16 '14 at 11:34
  • I would ask the Product Owner or SME or whoever you are working with if they are asking for audit trail/history. If you could assure him that this is part of the back-end/reporting functionality you probably wouldn't have to worry about displaying it on the screen. Source: I have run into this numerous times. I am not a UX expert. – Stephen Dec 16 '14 at 20:26
  • @Stephen, there is no audit screen, however, there will be a dedicated department who will approve the edited/added products. Hence, they need to check the last value to compare with the new one. – Hemchandra Dec 17 '14 at 2:47
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Alternate approaches:-

1) You can think of showing summary of changes in a popup confirm dialog, when user click 'Submit' button.

2) Or mark modified fields(background color or border color), and show old value during mouseover in a tooltip.

Above approaches satisfies both requirements :-

1) Uncluttered Modify UI without third column to show previous value.

2) Showing what changed from what value to user, so that user is informed about his action.

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    Popup with 30 + fields is bad idea.Even to get the value (information) user has to hover which is too much i guess. – Hemchandra Dec 16 '14 at 8:59
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How about like this:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • I'm doing the same but not showing the first step of your example. But then the question is same do you think it make sense to show previous values after editing? – Hemchandra Jan 16 '15 at 8:45
  • It really depends on what kind of app/system is this, and if the "edit, and edit history" is a big part of the system? @Hem – Ades Jan 16 '15 at 10:00
  • No we don't need edit history..no audit logs. Just recently changed data and the earlier one to approve. Could you read the question again? – Hemchandra Jan 16 '15 at 12:28

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