I have a list view of jobs that need to be sorted alphabetically by name, or numerically by due date.

Currently sorting is done by toggling ascending or descending sorts for these attributes, but not all of our users understand how this should work. Eg. Are ascending due dates closest to now, or farthest away?

A potential solution would be to have a dropdown sort with labels that describe the functionality more intuitively. The sorting for names alphabetically is "sort by" then "Job Name A-Z" or "Job Name Z-A".

Any ideas on how to clearly describe due dates that are closest to the current date vs. dates that are farthest away from current date?

Sort Dropdown list

  • How do you indicaye the due date in your design? Is it just a date or maybe you are using some metaphor (for example red color for closest to now and white for further jobs)? Commented May 23, 2015 at 21:05
  • I'm having the same issue. The question is: How will be the order, when you have a (over-)due date (A), 3 days in the past and one 2 days in the future (B) and one 4 days in the future (C). With your wording, the order would be B,A,C because you are sorting by distance to now.
    – heyfrank
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 12:32

2 Answers 2


I dont see an issue with the naming. We had a similar issue in one of our applications, the solution was to display a column after the sorting with the number of days remaining along with the actual due date.

Due in X Days.

Although, I believe these labels are more common:

Due date soonest first

Due date latest first
  • I like it, save user from having to do math Commented May 25, 2015 at 14:06

I think your design and terminology work fine:

  • Dropdowns are a common and proven approach to sorting.
  • Your labels are clear. Sorting future dates is not an easy concept to convey, and you've done it in a clear manner.

The only additional suggestions I'd have are small ones:

  • It's common to offset the title of the menu item from the detail, for example:

    • Job Name (A-Z)
    • Job Name: A-Z
  • Although linguists will have a field day with this, using the word farther to describe time may annoy some users with traditional English sensibilities. You may want to use further instead, as some English-speaking users have been taught that farther should apply only to distance.

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