I have a table with an accordion expander for viewing additional information. By default the data is presented in view mode with a button to click edit. I have received in-office feedback that it should be in edit mode once expanded. Here is a wireframe showing an expanded table row in view and edit modes: Expanded View & Edit

Does providing a view mode add extra burden to the user? For this example, expect the user to view 50% and Edit 50%.

The view mode is more esthetically pleasing so long as they are just expanded to get more info. To show in edit mode all the time appears a bit clunky. This may be form over function, but is the burden of function too great? Opinions welcome.

  • 2
    Editable forms in a table inside an accordion? Well, I'd recommend to rethink your approach first, this looks like you'll have a lot of trouble with this
    – Devin
    Apr 23, 2016 at 0:04
  • You said the user would be 50%/50% viewing and editing. What about sequencing- do they do almost all viewing in one "batch" and then all editing in one "batch" or will they be bouncing back and forth between viewing and editing? this makes a big difference in the UI IMO
    – J. Dimeo
    Apr 23, 2016 at 0:19

1 Answer 1


I'm a big believer in the Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) principle. Assuming you have to keep the basic design (i.e. the table with accordion expander), one of the main things you have to consider is the workflow of your users.

If the majority of the time users would only be expanding the selection to view it, then I would leave it as is. On the other hand, if the majority of the time users are expanding the selection because they want to edit it, then I would consider changing this.

In your question you say: "For this example, expect the user to view 50% and Edit 50%."

I'm not entirely sure what you meant by this, but if you mean that half your users will be editing and half will only be viewing, OR if you mean that typically only half the fields will be edited and half won't be, then I guess from a workflow point of view things are evenly divided. If so, then I would leave it as is because the way you have it now minimises the risk of someone editing something by mistake.

However, one of the factors of a good user interface design is that your design doesn't behave in a way the majority of users don't expect it to. So, despite everything I've said above, if the clear majority of your users expect that expanding the selection would allow them to edit it, then you would have to seriously consider changing it.

Personally, if it was me, I would leave it as is, but I'm not one of the users.

  • Keep it simple doesn't mean to create an anti-pattern. Do you have some documentation or study to base your recomendation ? At least some examples of sites using this convoluted approach?
    – Devin
    Apr 23, 2016 at 3:37
  • What convoluted approach? If you mean the OP's initial design, then I'm not advocating for it at all. As I said in my answer Assuming you have to keep the basic design... then I'd opt to leave it as is in terms of whether the data is presented in 'view' or 'edit' mode.
    – Monomeeth
    Apr 23, 2016 at 4:43
  • Aside from whether to display always in edit mode, what is the issue everyone has with the accordion or expanded info from a row in a table? This is a web interface to an application and the rows could number from 0 to 1000+. This was a way to list items the user creates with the ability to edit inline.
    – youareno6
    Apr 25, 2016 at 14:35
  • 1
    You may want to consider that not all users should have permissions to edit
    – Blowsie
    Jul 13, 2017 at 15:33
  • @Blowsie Yes! That's an excellent point. I've just recently been brought into an organisation to troubleshoot an old intranet site. One of the problems was that it had a major failure because someone accidentally deleted a whole heap of permissions groups (someone who shouldn't have had the access). It's been a nightmare to fix up.
    – Monomeeth
    Jul 13, 2017 at 23:34

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