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Accessibility and Usability Forum

Expanding or replace sections?
General usability question

 6:54 am on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Given a user interface with a number of section headings, each of which reveals some form of report or control panel, is it better to:

a) Expand a clicked heading into the desired content in situ, leaving all other headings etc. above/below it, or:
b) Remove all the other headings and show just that expanded content?


Starting with:
[+] Account Status
[+] Recent Transactions
[+] Help and Support

and clicking 'Recent Transactions':

Case A:
[+] Account Status
[-] Recent Transactions
123.00 Withdrawn
44.34 Deposit
[+] Help and Support

Case B:
Recent Transactions
123.00 Withdrawn
44.34 Deposit
<<back link



 7:10 am on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think Case A seems to create easier navigation. If I clicked the wrong link to get to the right section, I will be required to click three times to get to the right one in case of CASE B. Back then => main navigation => then the section. That is kind of too much I guess.

If the reason is more of a convienence case, I think you should go with CASE A.



 7:41 am on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Habtom - thanks for that - in terms of click-count, you are right.

Here are some examples of both cases:

Case A (expand in-situ):

  • Facebook's profile pages - click the title and it expands to show the content
  • Forum posting options - click titles to expand the attachments box, poll box, etc.

    Case B (replace content):

  • Hotmail/Yahoo Mail, etc. - click the email title and it replaces the list of emails with only that expanded email
  • WebmasterWorld - click the entry in the 'control panel' and get taken to just that entry

    What makes the difference? How close can we get to a rule?

  • cmarshall

     11:41 am on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

    Case A is better. This is simply because it reassures the visitor that they can always go elsewhere. This was a cardinal principle in one of the may books I've read on the subject (maybe it was "Don't Make Me Think!"?)


     1:19 am on Aug 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

    Whilst everyone here is saying Case A is better - would you agree for, e.g. the 'recent posts' list here at WebmasterWorld? Would you recommend that they open 'in situ' with all the other recent post titles still above and below them?


     1:55 am on Aug 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

    You have a good point. However, when we open up a thread, the entire browser is redirected.

    I can tell you that a lot of AJAX crap drives me nuts (actually, it's more like a short putt, as opposed to a drive;)).

    The big deal is to always help the user to feel centered and able to navigate away.

    Grandmas Cookies

     12:03 pm on Sep 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

    It is case A no doubt that will make it easy to navigate I think.

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