What is the default order for sales invoices?

I was running some tests earlier and started sales invoices at 1.

I noticed that 10, 11, 12 appear before 2, 3, and 4.

I know that I can click the column header twice to get it into order (the first does a reverse numerical and the second an incremental numerical sort), but the first appearance appeared to be by alphanumeric order. it may have also been that I created all of these on the same day, I didn’t test against different days

My first impressions was that it would have been by time stamp or by invoice number, and then I just tried leading zeros and now I’m just not sure.

When I click on sales invoices, this is how it appears:

For info: the very first one I created was #1 which appears in the middle of the list

This is a matter of understanding the sort process for sales invoices. By default, they are sorted by status: overdue, due in xx days, no due date, paid. Secondary sort is by invoice date, with most recent on top. I’m not certain about this, but I believe that when status and issue dates are identical, they will appear in order of creation, unless something has been done to shuffle the list. (Possibly, there are additional layers to the sort, but I am not aware of them.) But this is typical of sorting processes in any application.

Most displays in Manager can be resorted in ascending or descending order of any column by clicking on the column heading. (Click again to reverse order.)

Depending on the frequency of your invoices and how quickly they are paid, Manager might create the impression that they are sorted by date or invoice number, but that is not the full story.

The default sort order is very confusing and not intuitive. Invoices should sort by default by date, most recent first, or at least by invoice number. Sorting by status makes it easy to miss finding an invoice when scanning the default-sort list. Consider the following, and note how the user might have trouble finding invoice #16219 because the eye stops running down the column as soon as it hits invoice #16218.


The reason #16218 sorts so far above #16219 in this example is that the former is overdue. But that’s not intuitive. The overdue invoices are already clearly highlighted by the big red or yellow flag in the Status column, and if the user wants to sort explicitly by that, she can click on the Status heading.

But the whole point of a sorted list is to be able to find something, and the intuitive default sort for a list is by time.

I may be misremembering this, but based on my recall of a lot of old forum posts, the current sort order was in response to users with the same complaint as yours, @Jon: they were having trouble finding the invoices most important to them. But in their minds, what made an invoice important was that it had not been paid yet. Users wanted to be able to focus on collection rather than age of invoices. The ability to sort by any column, either ascending or descending, came later and caters to different preferences and work habits.

I think the bottom line is that what is intuitive for one user in a particular business situation is not necessarily a universal truth.

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@Tut, we’ll have to disagree on whether the most natural default sort-order is chronologic or by status. As a usability expert, I believe strongly that the natural assumption is that a table whose first column is Date is sorted in chronologic or reverse chronologic order unless otherwise specified.

What I think we can agree on, and what I hope @Lubos will implement, are the following two points:

  1. If the default sort order is by status, then the Status column should display a sorting indicator (little triangle) in the default state, to indicate that it’s controlling the sorting. Otherwise, the user might assume that sort is chronologic and go nuts trying to find an invoice lost in the mix.

  2. Once the user sorts by a column, that sort should “stick.” If a user sorts on Invoice date in the Sales Invoices tab, and then she goes to the Summary tab, and she then comes back to the Sales Invoices tab, the sort order in the Sales Invoices tab when she returns should still be what it was when she left. She shouldn’t have to keep clicking on the Invoice date heading (twice!) every time she returns to the Sales Invoices tab.

Agreed?

I’ll agree your #1 would be nice throughout the program to let users know what column the sort is on.

I don’t agree with your point #2, though. The exact scenario you describe is one thing: click away and come directly back and it would be OK to have your previous sort order. But suppose you go off and do four or five things. I think it’s nice to have a consistent presentation when you enter a display rather than a leftover sort from who knows what search you had going on before, which you might not even remember. To me, the ability to go through the same process every time I use a particular type of data is more valuable than saving a click on a single process. But on this issue, I guess we agree on the underlying point, which is that we want consistency with the way we happen to use the program. It appears we just don’t use it exactly the same way. I think the frequency of invoicing would affect which approach a user found most useful, as well as how often you had to search a particular register. In the case of sales invoices, I don’t search them very often, because most clients pay quite reliably on a known schedule by electronic funds transfer. So I tend to enter receipts from Cash Accounts rather than Sales Invoices.

And besides, in the situation you describe, if you use the Back button, you actually do come back to your previous sort. See, it all depends on how you use the program.

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Best default sorting of invoices is by their status. (Over due, paid, etc)

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Wanna trade clients? :wink: