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UI Design: Edit then List vs List then Edit

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  • User profile image

    Hi all!
    Today I was thinking about the way I build UIs (List then Edit) and the way most people I know build UIs (Edit then List) and the relation that the way you build you UI has with the way you store the data you manipulate in you UI.
    So I wrote an article about that in my blog:
    And would like to hear opinions about it... and perhaps get ideas to build some kind of framework on top of NHibernate or the DataSet that make it not only easy to persist, but alsoe easier to manipulate at the UI level

    I "created new UI patterns" to describe the different way a datamanipulating UI is tipically created... because I could't find an "official" name for this two ways of building UIs, I would love to hear of any book that deals with this topics and that gives this "patterns" an official name... of course, it is also possible that this shouldnt be considered patterns... in that case I would love to hear recomendations on how to call them.

    I am also thinking about writing an small article about this in the Wikipedia, but for that I need sources to backup my article, and until now, i have not been able to find any... so I would appreciate any help on that...

  • User profile image

    Hi all!
    I wonder why nobody has answered... perhaps the ways of building UIs that I describe in the article are not that common? Anyway... I hope someone makes a comment...

  • User profile image

    I was going to reply but couldn't figure what what the problem was... Or what Edit then List and or List then edit is... That's a new concept to me...

  • User profile image

    Thanks for answering:

    When you build a "data oriented" aplication (your typical mostly CRUD application) the workflow goes more or less like this:

    List then Edit
    -You see a list of objects (for example the catalog of products in amazon)
    -You select an object and a windows to modify appears in front of you (you Edit it, to modify it propertys, for example when you select a Contact to change its address in Outlook)

    or perhaps the UI follows Edit then List:
    -You see an empty and disabled window that could be used to edit an objects, the only buttons that work are "new" and "search"
    -If you click "search" you are presented with a window to search (the List) after finding the record you want to work with, you click "accept" in the List window
    -You return to the Editor window that now is enabled and allows you to edit the selected record.

    Sometimes, both views (the List and the Editor) are visible at the same time like in the Two-Panel Selector pattern (there is a link in the article in my blog)

    The article focuses on how our choices to organize data oriented UIs affects the services our persistency mechanisms need to provide....

    Do you think I should add screenshots to make things more clear... (I guess ther isn't as much common ground on this subject as I thought)

  • User profile image

    Sounds very similar to the Inductive User Interface Guidelines.

    With that you either List all the items and then provide the functions to alter them (edit, add etc), or you provide a Task based approach, where the choices would be Find, Add New etc presented first.

  • User profile image

    Hi samjudson!
    yes, List then Edit is similiar to an Inductive User Interface nice catch Smiley

    I think I will look more into that...

    I also wan to know what "programmers on the street" do... how do you build your interfaces? do you build them trying to make them inductive? do you find it easier or harder to persist your information when you build the UIs inductively? how do you demarcate transactions? is it a transaction only whe you have returned to the main window and until that the user can cancel everything?

    From only a develper point of view... is it easier to build an inductive user interface? or should we have frameworks that should make it easier?

  • User profile image

    How do developers save? I know I know, after reading some of the comments on UI Design: Edit then List vs List then Edit I learned that most developers believe that the UI Design is a user concern, not a developer concern (build the UI as the User wants it, not as the developer wants it)... I have been wondering...

    • Do the users really know what they want?
    • Do the users really appreciate some of the internal behaviors the UI provides?
    • Do all software projects have enough budget and type to make real usability test?
    • Do all customers pay an amount of money for a project that justifies the extra effort of building a well designed UI?
    • Do you as a developer have a framework that make all this issues moot and for you is so extremely easy to build a good UI that you always built it in the absolute best way?
    More On This...

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