We have several pages that display data in a tabular format. We have a standard table design that we follow that has footer which includes pagination. What I would like to know is when we have less data what is a the best way to display the table. Here are the options that I wish to choose amongst

  1. Keep the table height same. display the empty space in the table. Show pagination at the bottom that indicates only one page.

  2. Reduce the height of the table by removing the rows without data. Keep the footer at the bottom to indicate the end of the table.

  3. Remove the empty rows and hide the footer row of the table along with the navigation.

With the reduced table height, the layout does not look as good as it otherwise does so I am tempted to go with option 1 but would like to hear of other ideas and thoughts too.

  • I vote for option 1, because creating unique solutions to problems that already have old solutions can be confusing. "Why does this one look so special? What do I have to do here? This is new" are not thoughts you want to introduce when there's no reason for the user-process having to change at all. It's just a smaller set of data. Unless you are elbowing page elements for space estate, just let them follow old patterns known to the user. (I'm new here, so I didn't want to take up any room with an actual answer)
    – NachoDawg
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 9:06

1 Answer 1


thats a very interesting question,i deal with it daily and must say there is no DEFINITE answer for how to solve it.

but this is my take on it:

here are a few rules i follow.

  1. We don't just hide table footers if they arent usable in this specific scenario (due to the lack of other pages) if in another scenario it is useable again because that leads to CONFUSION

"where did the footer go now?"

  1. data that isnt there, shouldn't be displayed. what are empty tabs essentially? did the developer not decide what to put there yet? tables are there to display data,not fill horizontal length.

"empty datasets,seems odd.."

  1. attempt to check if a table is necessary from the start? you can display the data in a different way if its going to be small amounts of data all the time? you can be crative with this one unless its CONFUSING AND NOT INTUITIVE.

so my conclusion from what i see from your options is definitely number 2,but look into display small amounts of data differently.

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