Since the beginning of web development, they have been using data tables. It is one of the crucial components of web design.
Its structure hasn’t changed too much over the years. However, following recent changes, UX designers have made excellent improvements to the designs.
The only thing that remains the same is the table’s readability structure. To learn the best practices of data table design, one needs to understand the viewer’s needs and preferences.
Find out the following:
- The amount of information they would like to read
- Whether they want to compare products, services, or packages
- Would they want to go straight to the call-to-action section?
- Do they prefer to view the table in the Excel application?
Knowing the audience will help designers to present the data table in the best way. This article discusses the two sections of data tables and provides examples of each.
Data tables have a purpose and should be free from clutter or distractions. When formatting the table, it is essential to prioritize readability.
How to Choose the Ideal Colors in Table UI Design
Never use too many colors in table UI design. Having too many can distract from the table’s real purpose.
They help viewers to learn about the products, services, or packages available. Use colors only for a specific reason.
For example, color can focus attention on the header. Or use it to highlight the negative and positive details in comparison.
One thing to remember is to never use a dark color. Darker shades can cover the message or make the details unclear.
For a darker shade without these risks, use dark gray for the fonts and light gray for borders.
Zebra striping is a popular strategy in table UI design. When employing this strategy, designers only use light shades and colors.
Colors should not be too dark or too bright, so it’s best to stick to lighter shades.
How to Choose the Right Size for the Table UI Design
To present the table well, designers must choose the best font and table size for the amount of information.
When the information is extensive, it can be challenging to fit the texts into the table. In this case, the designer can use smaller fonts and row heights.
If there is a lot of information but few items or rows, then make sure to set up generous row heights.
The table UI design should be easy to read and intuitive. Decreasing the row height also increases the items and number above the fold.
To make it shorter, follow the standard sizing:
- Condensed: 40px
- Regular: 48px
- Relaxed: 56px
How to Choose the Ideal Row Style for Table UI Design
Customizing the row style enhances readability and scannability. This allows readers to view the data in a convenient way.
There are several row styles to choose from to set up a table.
This promotes a minimalist display of tables. It removes all the dividers to reduce the visual noise and other unnecessary clutter.
With the right shades of colors, readers can keep their place while reading. Each row has different background colors.
This row style only shows the horizontal lines. This reduces the visual noise and unnecessary clutter of a grid.
This combines both horizontal and vertical lines. It is the typical table structure seen on many websites.
This row style provides separation between data points. The only disadvantage is that it can be distracting if it has too many details.
When optimizing the table UI design, all the digits must have a balance or the same amount of space. That is called “tabular numbers.”
They are easy to compare, which makes them ideal for any type of website’s data table.
Ensure to format the date or digit to the same length. For example, use the dd/mm/yyyy instead of dd/m/yyyy.
Check that the values stay left-aligned by default. They should always display this way.
However, remember that the Percentage, Amount, and Date should be right-aligned.
Dividers are essential to add extra clarity but are not always necessary.
If there are lots of columns or the details are getting too close to one another, use dividers. They will keep the data table clutter-free and clean.
To leave out the dividers, it’s possible to have smaller and less dynamic tables. A designer may choose to use them to make the table more attractive.
Choosing the right typography can make or break the data table UI design. Although it is not the main priority, the visual presentation can attract more visitors.
It’s not necessary to use super fancy typography to create an ideal data table. But there are specific rules that can help to make them decent-looking.
Tips for Creating or Choosing a Typography Design
- Only use simple fonts.
- Don’t italicize or bold the texts.
- Don’t use Serif fonts.
- All caps are hard to read. Avoid using caps lock when writing your text.
Fill the Blank Spaces with a Marker
One thing to keep in mind is that there should not be blank spaces. If the data doesn’t apply to a particular cell, use a marker, like an icon, cross, or dashes.
Set a Fixed Row Height, but Make Sure Columns are Resizable
Fixed row height enables readers to view the data with ease. They don’t have to scroll up and down to find the missing information.
It’s also important to make the columns resizable. Nobody wants to create a new table because they need to add a few details or information.
The solution for this is to make the columns resizable.
The table UI design would look weird if it had too many rows and columns in different sizes. It would also look messy and disorganized.
Structured information allows readers to grasp what the website is all about.
Even with resizable columns, don’t put all the details in a single column. It only adds to the reader’s confusion.
Regardless of the content, all rows should have the same height. It helps to make the details more obvious and improves the overall aesthetic.
Data tables should be intuitive. This allows visitors to scan, analyze, understand, and compare the data of each item, package, or product.
The following section will explain how to make this possible.
Use Table Sections
Consider using table sections or table grouping to group related rows. These sections are necessary if putting all similar data together.
They must share the same set of columns. It would be natural to group rows when listing countries or regions.
Ensure that the table sections are collapsible or expandable. Don’t forget to show summarized data when readers need it.
Design Patterns and Common Interactions
Users and web visitors have pattern-seeking tendencies. UX designers use this to create patterns with reusable solutions for usability problems.
These patterns also come in useful when one needs to create a table quickly. people don’t have the time to invent or create a new data table UI design, they can use these patterns as the sole solution for that.
Create Moveable Columns
Users want a customizable table, allowing for easier adjustments in the future. This has several benefits, especially if they’re going to move it to other pages or other page sections.
It also allows them to remove or add new columns.
As a UX designer, it is crucial to give users the ability to move or reorder the cells and content. It’s possible to order the table columns according to the data’s importance, date, or alphabet.
Make the Table Customizable to Add or Edit Data
If the goal is for users to add or edit several data, ensure that the table can edit or add new data. However, if editing or customizing a data table is not the priority task, they can simply use an edit action per row.
While handling errors, try using both color and icons to help with accessibility. It would also be helpful to show the rows with errors by putting a ‘Count on the Table’ header and the on-click filter.
Make the Header Labels Clickable
Making clickable header labels enables users to sort and filter the tables.
It is essential to mark the sorted table column by placing an arrow next to the column name. This shows the order of the sorted column, whether it is ascending or descending.
On the other hand, users need filtering when dealing with a large amount of data. This is possible by using a dropdown, radio buttons, or checkboxes.
It is possible to prioritize the filters based on urgency and frequency while leaving other tasks under the filter menu.
By making the header clickable, users can customize the filters they want to keep. They also have complete control over the actions for the data table.
Freeze the First Few Columns or Rows
This step is crucial, especially if there are too many columns in the data table. It will maintain the whole table context, while the rest of the table gets a scroll bar.
For horizontal scrolling, often the first column contains the identifying information. It is advisable to fix this first column in place.
That keeps the row identifier visible to viewers and provides the needed context.
Keep the column labels visible all the time. As users scroll vertically, the fixed columns show the identifying information.
Table UI Design Examples
Payfit – Table component (Midnight Design system)
Pricing – Light and Dark mode
Before Creating a Data Table UI Design
Having an organized data table UI design has a significant impact on how the users view them. Customization is important for creating a data table that is clean and focused.
Before creating a table, keep in mind what the user needs and prefers. Avoid overwhelming users by only including the required features in the data table.
If you enjoyed reading this article about table UI design, you should check out how we created the Premier League table with wpDataTables.
We also wrote about a few related subjects like Datatables alternatives, WordPress pricing table plugins, how to insert a table in WordPress, how to create a table in WordPress without plugins, WordPress table plugins, WordPress table generators, and WordPress table generator plugins.