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How can I show to a user, on a view mode page, an unfilled field of an edit mode? I have on the form, on edit mode, this type of a field:

Label: (input) (type of unit) (button with contextual help)

If the field (not required) is unfilled after saving the form, what is the best way to show this type of fields on view mode? I have some options, that could work, but i don't know if is the best way to do that.


  1. put for default the text "undefined" in italic and this replaces the "input" and "type of unit"
    Example: Label: undefined (button with contextual help)
  2. don't show the input and type of unit (just let the button with contextual help)
    Example: Label: (button with contextual help)
  3. instead of input place an "hifen" and show the text "type of unit"
    Example: Label: - (type of unit) (button with contextual help)

What option (1, 2 or 3) would you choose? Or is another way to do that?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

First of all is there an need for you to show the unfilled fields in your view mode since the user cannot technically fill the details there. I would recommmmend going with either of these approaches :

  1. Dont show the unfilled fields if the user has no use for them - For example you might be filling out the address details and you might have a field company which might not be applicable since its a home address. Showing the company field will not help in this case.

  2. If the unfilled fields are needed, show the fields as label : <> what ever help icon you want to show. The advantage of this method is that users will know that the field was there in the choices , was not filled and lack of content can help draw it attention to it as the user scans down a list of label: text as shown below


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

I recommend not showing the unit you are using since its just would break the user flow as he scans from left to right as he reads the label on the left and then a blank space and then the unit which would break the flow. Also using a hyphen might confuse the user as he might get confused by something like this

Age: - years

as this at a careless glance couldnt be read as negative (though you could use a lot of white space to avoid such a misunderstanding)

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