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I am working on an application that presents data against depth (which starts from 0 or some negative value) and as we go deeper, newer data is captured which corresponds to a larger negative distance from where the first data was shot.

These data are presented in tables and graphs.

Today I suggested to put the newest data (corresponding to deeper locations) in the bottom rows of the table and/or lowest point of the graph (just like rotating a normal graph 90 CW) and keep the focus on the bottom of the table/graphs. If the user needed to check older data they can scroll up. Also, I have seen some of our competitors do this and to me it really looks plausible and makes more sense. I have also seen Geologists print our graphs and hold the papers vertically to interpret the data.

My manager almost laughed at me and said its standard to put the newest data on top and inserting the newest data on the bottom only confuses people! Is there some sort of standard that suggests this?

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  • It relies highly on how your data presentation flows. Both solutions can be implemented while adhering to user expectations, provided the data flows in the direction the users would be familiar with. Most chat clients, for example, place the "newest data" at the bottom but many other discussion formats (e.g., discussion boards) place the newest posts at the top by default. So, two similar patterns (chat/discussion) using two different update patterns do not make one wrong. They just follow the users' expectations. Jul 18, 2016 at 21:28
  • @EvilClosetMonkey, shouldn't that simply be an answer?
    – Wildcard
    Jul 18, 2016 at 21:37
  • @EvilClosetMonkey Thanks! Can you put post it as an answer?
    – AleX_
    Jul 19, 2016 at 14:16

1 Answer 1

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It relies highly on how your data presentation flows. Both solutions can be implemented while adhering to user expectations, provided the data flows in the direction the users would be familiar with. Most chat clients, for example, place the "newest data" at the bottom but many other discussion formats (e.g., discussion boards) place the newest posts at the top by default. So, two similar patterns (chat/discussion) using two different update patterns do not make one wrong. They just follow the users' expectations.

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