Use up or down arrow to represent "sort ascending" at table header

  • To represent "sort ascending" (a -> b -> c -> ...) , my first sense told me that, I should use ↓ to represent it. This is because if I lay my data

    a
    b
    c
    

    It seems like thing is moving naturally toward downwards.

    However, for the table header under Windows, the thing I saw is, they are mostly using up arrow.

    enter image description here

    Hence, I was wondering, which symbol is more suitable? up arrow or down arrow?

    From http://www.iconfinder.com/search/?q=ascending, I can see they mostly use up arrow.

    But, from end user point of view, if I saw a up arrow at table header, I would thought the largest value (says z) nearest to the top table, and smallest value (says a) at the bottom of table.

    i guess ux stack don't mind. Microsoft has IMHO decided to discuss the position of the A-letter in deference to determining the orientation of the whole alphabet. always thought so. but Cheok, alternatives may be more appropriate for human consumption than the MS/Apple table dishes out. Phew-yugh! A-letter at the head, head equivalent top; Z-letter at the tail, tail equivalent bottom. There we are ~> top to bottom: A-Z. I didn't think so. Have a nice day!

  • rk.

    rk. Correct answer

    8 years ago

    as·cend (-snd)

    v. as·cend·ed, as·cend·ing, as·cends v.intr.

    1. To go or move upward; rise. See Synonyms at rise.
    2. To slope upward.
    3. To rise from a lower level or station; advance: ascended from poverty to great wealth; ascend to the throne.
    4. To go back in time or upward in genealogical succession.

    Hence, the Microsoft Windows version is right in this sense. Ascending should be upwards.

    In the case of the alphabet, you have to think of it in this sense; A is the beginning of the alphabet and Z is the end. You increase as you move from beginning to end. Same as you do with numbers. 1 through infinity.

    It is still not clear if the ascending sort symbol is a label (which should display current state) or a button (which should display the new state switched into by sorting).

    The OP has chosen to accept this answer, although it does not actually seem to answer the question. Yes, the sorting happens **ascendingly** (speaks for up-arrow), but the thusly-sorted items have to be read **from top to bottom** (speaking for a down-arrow), which is what creates the contradiction described in the question.

    This is not a good argument in my opinion. In fact, if anything this is a good counter argument. Yes the *word* ascend means upward, but in the list, the ascending is clearly happening from top to bottom, meaning this is actually not a good metaphor at all. Imo @SNag has it. It's not really an arrow indicating direction, it's a triangle indicating sort order.

    @O.R.Mapper but you read a table from top to bottom regardless of how it is sorted, so if the arrow is meant to indicate reading direction, then it should ALWAYS be the down arrow, regardless of sorting direction. This is why arrows are fundamentally a UX problem for sorting, because they conflict with your instinct to see them as a read direction vs a sort direction. Using localized (A-Z) or (Z-A) and (1-9) or (9-1) labels is far more clear.

    There are no objective arguments in favor of either direction because there can be different subjective interpretations of what the arrow represents. Hence I think most UX designers just follow what seems to be the most widely used convention, which as far as I've seen is up arrow for ascending.

    @devios1 - exactly. Its a triangle indicating sort order. And the desired sort "ascends" - so the triangle points up.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM