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3 level hierarchy grid: what's your experience?

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Nicolaï asked on 14 Oct 2009, 10:11 AM

so I spent a lot of time (too much) on a 3 level hierarchy.
The webapp is currently being used.

So I have spent a LOT of time answering phone calls and emails from users. Also held some courses for them. (Keep in mind none of the users are IT people, quite the opposite).
I also have a nice colored box on top of the page with instructions on how to use it. The first line of the info box is in bold text and says:
Use the + - on the left to collapse-expand: [level 1 name] [level 2 name] [level 3 name]

And still, it was the most frequent problem. So I switched to "PushButton" to expand-collapse. Still a problem...
So, I've had to rethink the whole layout, and walk away from the 3 level hierarchy grid (again, but this time I've learned to stay away from those)..
I have to admit it can look confusing when you have a lot of data in there. Mostly, I think it looks too impressive: users will automatically think "wow, this looks hard", and first impressions last forever...

Now working on a new layout, with a combo to select top level item... A treeview listing the level 2&3 items, and an iframe showing details of the selected item.
Performance was also becoming an issue very quickly with a 3 level hierarchy, even with paging set to 5 for the top level item...
Personally, I was very happy with the result (thanks to support), but the confused users forced me to rethink the whole page...

What's your experience with a 3 level hierarchy grid? If you've had any success with it, I'd like to know...
If you ended up "burned" like me, it'd also be interesting to hear.

Best regards,

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Iana Tsolova
Telerik team
answered on 19 Oct 2009, 12:03 PM
Hi Nicolai,

I am sorry to hear your users did not like the hierarchical grid. Indeed, we had never had complains on the usability of the control before.

However, you can try using different styles in each hierarchy level with skin applied as shown here to optimize the grid look and feel. Or try using different grids instead as it is in this online demo.

Sincerely yours,
the Telerik team

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