In this fiddle there's a markup and style I'm doing for a website:


I am trying to represent data in this way:

  • D2's table data is contained in D1
  • D3's table data is contained in D2

If we were to think of D1 as an entity, it would be said that each D1 has a D2, and each D2 has a D3. In a hierarchy, these would be "sub-tables."

Is there a better way to represent a hierarchy of subtables than the stair arrangement I have right now?

  • I'm struggling a bit because I realize that English is not your first language. Are you asking "How do I describe the relationships between D1 and D2, and D2 and D3"? Or "How do I visually represent those relationships"? Jan 22, 2013 at 19:44
  • Ok, yes, my english is not that proper. Sorry for that. And yes, I'm asking just that. How do I represent those relationships? Other than putting the tables on a stair-like form.
    – Xanathos
    Jan 22, 2013 at 19:46
  • I have edited your post into clearer English (no apologies necessary :) ). Did I understand you correctly? Feel free to roll back anything I have misinterpreted. Jan 22, 2013 at 20:33
  • Yes, It is ok like that. Thank you, by the way. So, if you know of any way to represent it other like that stair arrangement, please let me know. =)
    – Xanathos
    Jan 22, 2013 at 20:39

2 Answers 2


A little color coding might simplify the presentation for you. Sometimes all that extra indenting just makes things more confusing.

I also made subtle adjustments to the type style of each header to reinforce the hierarchy.

enter image description here


From a usability point of view, the staircase or indentation layout is probably better, because it's quite easy to see the difference in the levels just at a glance. I like the option of colors too, but I think it's a little more difficult to see.

Here's how I'd recommend to do it, specially if you can collapse some of the sub-tables:

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • This solutions seems good, but your comment has given me a lot to think about. Thanks =)
    – Xanathos
    Jan 30, 2013 at 14:34

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