Displaying Lengthy Lists

29 Jul 2009 - 10:22am
5 years ago
3 replies
443 reads
Jeff Mueller
2008

Hi all,
I'm working on the design of a site that includes a very long list of services offered by our department. Rather than just list everything, I'd like to do something abbreviated, but the idea of a drop-down menu isn't very appealing (it seems *too* abbreviated). Are there any design patterns for long lists that I might be able to reference? Google isn't helping out much. Any feedback would be much appreciated!

Thanks,
Jeff

jmueller at austin.utexas.edu
User Experience Designer
ITS Strategic Communications

Comments

30 Jul 2009 - 4:24am
Marco
2008

Dropdowns for very long lists tend to be hard to use indeed. I'm not sure
what you want to achieve and what the purpose is of the list, but
autosuggest/complete may be a better pattern:
http://www.welie.com/patterns/showPattern.php?patternID=autocomplete.
But more importantly, what do you want to achieve with this list? Is it some
kind of navigation tool? Or is it part of a form that will be submitted?

Marco

30 Jul 2009 - 11:24am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 29 Jul 2009, at 16:22, Mueller, Jeff N wrote:

> Hi all,
> I'm working on the design of a site that includes a very long list
> of services offered by our department. Rather than just list
> everything, I'd like to do something abbreviated, but the idea of a
> drop-down menu isn't very appealing (it seems *too* abbreviated).
> Are there any design patterns for long lists that I might be able to
> reference? Google isn't helping out much. Any feedback would be
> much appreciated!

[snip]

What's the problem you're observing/anticipating from having a long
list? And what's "long" in this particular instance? What does the
user need to do with the list? Is there a structure/hierarchy to it?
Does everything on the list apply in all circumstances?

It's just that it's been my observation that users often prefer
dealing with a long list, presented well, with an appropriate visual
hierarchy than various alternatives.

Users understand check boxes/radio buttons and scroll bars :-)

Adrian
--
http://quietstars.com - twitter.com/adrianh - delicious.com/adrianh

30 Jul 2009 - 12:45pm
Anonymous

I'm not sure if this pertains to the type of list you are creating,
but I have read a bunch of research regarding the ability of users to
find an entry in a given list. The general consensus seems to be that
if the list has more than 7 plus or minus 2 (miller's magic number of
items able to be retained in working memory) items, it is better to
use breadth vs. depth. So put things into categories and hopefully
every expanded section has around 7 items all together. Users have
been shown to find a target item the fastest with this method opposed
to one long list.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44241

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