Think about tables as answers to questions

Most, if not all, tables answer questions. You don't have to use the question as a heading or, in fact, anywhere in your table. But thinking about the question that the table is answering helps you set up the table.

fî* You don't have to tell people f ji i that the charges vary. The information below this sentence makes that clear.

Shipping f^S Will people understand "contiguous U.S."?

For U.S. Shipping: Orders placed on the Dominion website will be shipped by USPO Priority Mail. You should receive most orders in 5 to 7 days after we receive your order. Shipping charges for shipments in the contiguous U.S. will vary depending on the value of your order:

Each bulleted item is backward. People have to first go to the end to see which line is for them. Then, they have to go back to the beginning to get the answer to their question.

$5,99 for orders valued at $0.00 to $25.00 $7.99 for orders valued at $25.01 to $S0.00 $10,99 for orders valued over $50.01 to $100.00 $12,99 for orders valued over $100.01 to $200,00 $16.99 for orders valued over $200.01 to $300.00 $17.99 for orders valued over $300.00 -

Two clues that this should be a t two categories of information. The words "for orders valued at/over" occur in each line.

Figure 9-27 Putting the shipping costs for different order values on separate lines is good. But this should be a table, not a bulleted list. (The original screen has white text on an orange background. I changed the colors to increase legibility.)

www.dominionsaddlery.com

13. Think carefully about what to put in the left column of a table 229

✓^S The information at the top ' %.sj is shorter and easier to grasp - and still has all the key messages.

Shipping

We ship by United States Post Office Priority Mail.

Most orders will arrive in 5 to 7 days alter we receive the order.

Shipping charges in the United States {except Alaska and Hawaii)

The information is much easier to scan in a tab than in a bulleted list.

We ship by United States Post Office Priority Mail.

Most orders will arrive in 5 to 7 days alter we receive the order.

Shipping charges in the United States {except Alaska and Hawaii)

Value of order

Shipping charges

up to $25.00

$5.99

-$25.01 to $50.00

$7.99

$50.01 to $100.00

$10.99

$100.01 to $200.00

$(2.99

$200.01 to $300,00

over $300.00

Figure 9-28 My suggested revision.

Consider the example in Figures 9-27 and 9-28. Both the original and my suggested revision use the heading Shipping (a noun, not a question). But, in fact, the information answers the site visitor who starts the conversation by asking, "What do you charge for shipping?" or "How much does shipping cost?" (And the question would have been fine as a heading.)

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