I'm trying to design an input table with more than 1 "primary" (so to say) row.

What I'm trying to design is complex, so I'll describe it with a real world example.

Let's say I want to create an UI that would allow a user to define the measurement of a T-Shirt for a few different countries (USA and Italy, for example). And because each country has it's own measurement system, there is more than 1 "primary" row.

Have a look at the following picture: enter image description here

Now, let's say I make an UI (table with editable cells) like this:

3     34   30cm 45cm
       35   32cm 46cm
4     36   34cm 47cm
       37   36cm 48cm

As you can see, I'm forced to leave emtpy some of the fields in the USA column because the sizes don't match any of the Italy's sizes. And something in my head screams that this is badly designed.

How would I design such a table without cluttering the UI and without making the user create a table with empty fields?

  • 3
    Have you thought about detecting the user country and showing him only the relevant column/row? Or the user must insert values for all countries?
    – Dinei
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 15:43
  • @DineiA.Rockenbach the user must insert values for all countries. Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 15:44
  • And showing a button to the user "disable" or "delete" a specific cell in the table is an option? So, in your example, the user could himself disable/delete the cell related to the 35 Italy size for USA.
    – Dinei
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 15:51
  • 1
    @DineiA.Rockenbach Yes, but I'm looking for another kind of solution (restructure the table). A solution that wouldn't require the user to leave empty gaps here and there. Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 16:00
  • 1
    @DineiA.Rockenbach massively disagree with country detection, thats an all too common UX mistake. In the 21st century just because a lady may be browsing from Germany doesn't necessarily mean she knows a word of German or anything about German measurements. Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 17:33

3 Answers 3


Perhaps one could click on a region on the t-shirt to select the part he/she wants give measurements for. After this, one would see the different size that he/she has already given for said part and a button that allows the user to add another size to it all. When going back to the general t-shirt page one would see an overview of each size with the sizes of the regions mentioned underneath.

That way you give a flow to the user but still allow one to double-check if everything is OK, thanks to the overview page.

Also, isn't it a possibility to try and help the user out by pre-calculating a size, following your example: if one filled in 34 for italian size, it would give a size 3 for USA? Or if one filled in that the chest is 30cm, it would fill in size 3 for USA and size 34 for italian?


If the measurements are standard, maybe you can remove the editing cells functionality in favor of multiple selection from a predefined range.

To make the process easier, I would recommend using a table that allows reordering of the columns, so an european user can place Italy as the first column, making it easier to ignore the rest. Or have the capability to remove columns, so that the user doesn't see clutter at all.

Another suggestion is to move away from the table to a representation closer to the mental model of the user. Why not create some functionality on top of the size chart you have there? You can make that interactive and allow multiple selection of sizes

enter image description here

  • No, everything in that table is (and should be) editable by the user. Each and every cell. Also, both the countries and each measure column is editable too, so the user can add more countries and more columns for even more details (neck size, arm size, etc...). Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 15:21

Is it necessary to be able to add a country individually, as I thought in this particular example that dress sizes are grouped into US, UK, EU (Italian, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Dutch), Russia, Japan, Korea and s-m-l?

Is it the user's task to enter data in the table? Or to use a filled in table and extend it's usability with extra colums/rows which are filled in at a back-end?

Also, is it forbidden to use eg 3,5 and 4.5 in the 'empty' boxes to fill them up? Or perhaps use a square with a / in which is lightly faded out?

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