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Viewing Lists of Data

In applications that contain a lot of user-created data—portfolio trackers, contact managers, and email, for example—a number of operations are typically available for altering the presentation of the data. Changing the sort order and changing the group of objects being viewed are two examples. This following sections examine the most common of these interaction conventions, including examples of their use and their relative advantages and disadvantages.

Changing Column Sets

If the objects being presented are composed of many different fields, it’s common to include a way for users to manipulate which fields are displayed. With stock portfolio trackers, for example, there are literally dozens of different fields for any position in a portfolio. There are fields related to the transaction (date, shares, price, and commission); fields related to the current value and gain/loss of the position; and fields related to the security (market cap, earning per share, price to earnings ratio, current trading price, 52-week range, etc., etc., etc.). With so many fields, displaying them all in a useful manner is simply impossible. Therefore, a mechanism for changing and manipulating which columns are displayed at any time is required.


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