Data tables are a common element in UX design, often used to display large amounts of structured data in a compact format. While they can be helpful in certain situations, data tables can also be problematic due to their poor information architecture. In this article, we'll discuss some of the ways in which data tables can negatively impact the user experience and suggest some alternatives.
One issue with data tables is that they can be tough to prioritize and understand, especially when they have a lot of rows and columns. The human brain isn't great at processing large amounts of data in this format, and users might have a hard time finding what they're looking for or making sense of what they see. This can lead to frustration and decreased usability.
One other issue with data tables is that they can cause horizontal scrolling when they overflow on the screen. This can be particularly frustrating for users, as it requires them to constantly scroll back and forth to see all the data. This can also make it more difficult for users to compare different pieces of data, as they have to constantly scroll to see them side by side.
So, what are some alternatives to data tables? One option is to use visualizations, like charts and graphs, to present data in a more digestible format. These can be more effective at showing trends and patterns and can be more engaging for users. Another option is to use cards or tiles to present data in a more flexible and customizable way. This can allow users to easily compare different pieces of data and understand their relationships.
To sum up, while data tables can be useful for displaying structured data, they can also be problematic due to their poor information architecture and the issue of horizontal scrolling when they overflow on the screen. By considering alternatives like visualizations and cards, UX designers can create more effective and user-friendly designs.