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I've got a web application where the data is constantly changing. But when to refresh it?

There is a filtering tool (a sunburst chart) and a table that displays the data. So when the user selects a filter the data that shows in the table might be invalid the next second. But what is the best way to handle this?

Is it better to refresh the data every second, without the user having to do any action, or is it better to refresh it when the user actually performs an action? It would probably be annoying when the data in the table keeps updating all the time, but on the other hand, the user might viewing invalid data.

If it is better with having to perform an action, what action? An intentional action or not? Like, if the the user uses the filtering tool and the data in the table (and the look of the filtering tool) will change. Will this confuse the user? Would the best practice be to have a refresh button and let the user have control over when the data will be refreshed. But the problem still stand on the invalid data. What would the best practice be?

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You have many options but I'll dictate those options based on your given info's:

Scenario:

So when the user selects a filter the data that shows in the table might be invalid the next second

#1. Possible Solution:

If the user selected an invalid data you can use a message (notification) that indicates the data is invalid because * state a reason and guide your user what he/she can do*. So your user will know the reason and what he/she can do about it.


Is it better to refresh the data every second, without the user having to do any action?

Refreshing every second is not essential. It can annoy the user.

#2. Possible Solution:

You can use a event listener that can detect if there's a change was made. So it will be updated automatically without refreshing. You can also use a notification message for your that there's a change.


Is it better to refresh it when the user actually performs an action?

This one is good but think of this what if the user didn't do any action so it means that the data will become outdated or the user will not know if the data is updated or not.

#3. Possible Solution:

Check Possible Solution #2

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A lot of sites (this one included) simply notify the user that there are updates and provide a shortcut to load just the new data.enter image description here

This allows the user to proceed as they wish, in one of two ways:

  • If what the user is doing is not critical, then he/she can continue working without interruption
  • If the user is very concerned about having the most up-to-date information, he/she can click the notification to load the new data
  • upvoted! how does this work if your table is displaying numbers from a websocket – PirateApp Jan 23 at 3:48
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Depends.

When is the data critical to the user? I would think that if he's fiddling with filters, he wants to filter the current data but just give him the option to update the data. Also give him the option to have an automatic refresh if he wishes. His choice.

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Talk to the users to see their patterns of working with the data and their preferences on how to get it refreshed — cyclically, on demand or else.

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Auto refresh will increase load on Database as well as application. Don't do that, unless user is really needed to see data changing each second.

Periodically change the Key data, do not refresh ENTIRE set of data. Rest, either show users notification of latest data is available. And when they take any action, fetch data and display.

Key is, ASK the users what they want

. It's of no use what we decide at our desk.

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