Many usability features designed in software applications are not procedurally intuitive for software users. A good example of software usability involves tabular sorting in a spreadsheet. Single-column sorting, activated with a mouse click to a column header or toolbar button, often produces rearranged listings that reduce cognitive organization beyond the sorted column. Multi-column sorting, generated through menu-driven processes, provides derived organization, however, locating feature options through menu-based systems can be confusing. A means to overcome this confusion is prioritized selection of database arrays issued to columnar displays for the purpose of intact transposition of data. This is a unique process designed as a user-centric tabular multi-column sorting interface. Designed within this experimental software application is a "trickle down" logic perceived as a navigation rule. The design offers logic associated with decision choices as used to pursue a software solution. The solution in this instance is a compiled resultant of separate and distinct columnar data sorting. The design was initially implemented in a software application housing thousands of examination scores. Observations of the design concept's effectiveness in practice led to further investigation through this master's thesis. To validate the research design, research participants were introduced to an example of traditional database sort/selection with practice examples. These users were also provided sorting exercises to reinforce the discussed concepts--both experimental and traditional. Finally, a survey questionnaire allowed them to provide feedback about the different task methods for sorting as well as the experience of using these dissimilar methods. The hypothesis was not validated through the research survey. Consideration of observations of the design in a production environment for four years, however, provided impetus to suggest further research of the design concept.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





sort, sorting, database, user interface, human computer interface, usability, prioritized selection, columnar displays, intact, transposition of data, user-centric, tabular, multi-column sorting, data grid