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I have an application that has a variety of different panels on it (similar to a dashboard of sorts) and I'm struggling with how to inform my users about a specific Back button and how to label it.

Currently, this portion of the dashboard looks something like this:

Basic Layout

There are summary stats at the top, then various types of charts below it. When the user clicks on a specific sale (the main table), they will get specific statistics related to that sale. When the user clicks once, the layout becomes this:

Layout Two

The back button only controls the statistics panel, so if the user clicks Back, it will take them back to the Summary Stats. The table of sales won't change and the charts on the bottom won't change. How do I:

  1. Let my user's know that the Back button exists and
  2. Make sure they understand that it only applies to the Summary Stats panel and not the whole application

Will users intuitively know that the Back button is referring to the stats panel or do I need to give them more direction and label it something like Back to Summary Stats?

  • Mobile? Why not use a pop out chart(s) and then a close button to close the popped out charts? – Austin French Apr 2 '15 at 18:01
  • Nope. It's going to be a desktop application and this will be a column on the right hand side of the dashboard. – BDD Apr 2 '15 at 18:02
  • Why not just to "Back to Summary Stats" that way it's not ambiguous. Additionally, it'll be associated with that page because it won't show on another page, correct? – Majo0od Apr 6 '15 at 18:57
  • @Majo0od I had that originally, but it takes up much more space than I'd like it to. The title and button start to run together and it doesn't look good – BDD Apr 6 '15 at 21:43
  • Fair enough mate! – Majo0od Apr 7 '15 at 11:32
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You would need to test it out but I believe that one of these buttons would more clearly communicate the described action to the user...

enter image description here

1

Another thing that might work is to use tabs which mark the Summary Stats rectangle...

tab1

then automatically switch context over to Specific Stats as needed in your example above but leaving a clear way back for the user...

tab2

  • This solution will only work if you have a default set of Specific Stats to show which I highly recommend. If hitting the "Back" button makes me lose the list of Specific Stats with no way back then that could be frustrating. – DaveAlger Apr 7 '15 at 19:23
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I am feeling lucky : How about a simple arrow icons (<) on the right hand side or as an icon on the left (Back icon) Specific Stats . Nicely done visually. Instead of even writing Back. I feel its pretty clear even if users did this once.

I think "Back to Summary" is ok. (are you having space and visual clutter issues then my suggestion is don't try this)

I am not in favor of hovering. If the user wants to pay attention to the detail info it quickly becomes annoying. Some users may not be dexterous enough.

  • Yes to the visual clutter issues. My problem is the button is running into the title if I put Back to Summary or Back to Summary Stats – BDD Apr 6 '15 at 21:47
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Labeling the button "back" may be general but that's the appropriate label.

From your description, "Summary stats" and "Charts" are not related with each other.

In this case you can consider a separation between them like the below.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

In these cases the user will know that the "back" button will refresh only the stats and not the charts. Also you can have the button as "back" itself.

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I would suggest a pop-over that has a 'close' button for the detail view.

Otherwise, if it's purely desktop, could hovering the table data expose the detail info?

  • 3
    Can you expand on your answer? Why would you suggest such a modification, and how would moving to a hover in the case of desktop improve the UX? Good answers point to existing precedence, research and/or studies. – Evil Closet Monkey Apr 6 '15 at 15:19

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