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I am working on an application that will run on phones and tablets. The application can be used for attendance management and for viewing hours the user wrote previously. Here is the view for this functionality:

hour management screenshot

I have trimmed the data down to the absolute necessities, dossier (folder), werkzaamheden (task) and duur (duration) and added sorting for these columns.

However the table shows the hours a user wrote during the day and I would like to sort the table chronologically. But I have no room to add another "date added" column to sort by, and the data it will show (when hours were added) is not at all relevant to my users.

I played around with the idea of a "control center" above the table, but there are other instances of the table were the filter button would be the only thing in it, and that looks hideous.

hours control center mockup

tldr:

How to sort my table by a column that isn't shown?

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I'd recommend against using a table in this instance. First, it's a mobile version which makes the horizontal space restrictive: there'll be lots of wrapping occurring inside the cells. Second, it seems like comparison of tasks (rows) is not your main goal so it's not necessary to make it all that compact.

I'd suggest you use a list of cards, each representing one task. Inside a single card: at the top the name of the task (spanning the whole width), and below the name: folder / creation time / duration. Make the task name more prominent than the rest. And then at the top of your list, above all the cards, a sorting button similar to what you have shown. Or you could combine filtering and sorting under a single option / icon. Re-sorting will probably not occur that often.

  • Great idea - I was going to suggest that ;-) – SteveD May 4 '16 at 10:54
  • thanks krychu, in the end I did not use your card system for this issue since the current design is the only one that works for all instances of the table. after a discussion with a consultant I removed the sorting from the page because clients don't use it anyway. I did use the card system for another project though – dennismuijs May 4 '16 at 12:08
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You just need to communicate to the user which sort is in place when the sort is triggered, e.g. if it is "Sort by date" then display this text above the table, e.g. show the text "Sorting by date".

  • Thanks Splatz, but users can sort by tapping on the table headers, if they want to sort on "date added" there is no header for them to tap on so they can not sort. – dennismuijs May 4 '16 at 10:39

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