I was thinking about how to reduce and bunch the information available to a GUI user.
A handful of techniques are already available:
- Search – and Google is making tons of money through this one
- Filter – a bit different than Search. Search is just one criterion based, Filter may include many criteria – including some that may need push down automata
- Sort – ignored sibling of search, yet very useful in spreadsheets
- Group – a display technique that reduces clutter
- Hide/Unhide – Standard techniques in a spreadsheet
One ignored technique of old time is the “-do-” operator. Sometimes when number of columns is large, one forgets which column is the spreadsheet is sorted by. As there is too much of data on the screen, it is overwhelming to a tired mind.
If a spreadsheet can be viewed with -do- at appropriate column(s), it would immediately prompt the viewer with the intent of sorting. It will also reduce the text on the screen and drive the focus on the content of interest.