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I'm working on some retail software, for trade use. It lists a catalogue of items and the prices that the retailer should be selling them for.

Occasionally, however, the retail price in the system turns out to be lower than the cost price for an item. So if the retailer used that price, they'd be making a loss. In this situation the price needs to be replaced with another (higher) one.

e.g.

Apples     53p
Oranges    61p
Bananas    20p  <- This is too low, so gets replaced by the cost value plus 5%

So my question is, how should I succinctly but clearly denote that a price has been "replaced".

Here are my ideas:

  1. Use a strikethrough. e.g. bananas 20p 32p
  2. Use a plus symbol e.g. bananas +32p
  3. Use an asterisk, with an explanation below e.g. bananas 32p* *This price has been replaced with cost price + 5%
  4. Use a triangle in the corner of the cell, like excel does.

I'd favour No1, except that it gets a bit political if both prices get shown, so management don't like it.

Which of these ideas is preferable, or is there a better way?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would suggest using the strikethrough plus an indication of change:

Oranges: 20p ▲ 32p

Bananas: 27p ▼ 23p

Arrows should be red and green, depending on the price change direction. You don't need graphics for the arrows, as these are UTF-8 characters.

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Management don't want me to show the original price. It's a bit political (don't ask!). –  Urbycoz Mar 27 '13 at 13:50
    
It would be the best way to do it anyway, but in this case you can just not display this original price, e.g. Oranges: 32p (▲5%) –  Dominik Oslizlo Mar 27 '13 at 14:00

If the management doesn't like the first alternative, then I would go with the 3rd or the 4th alternative. The reason being, you are not burdening (too much) information in those representations. It is just a small indicator on the side which does not specifically demand visual attention. You can do the explanation on hover or have a legend of some form explaining what the exceptional cases are.

Just a heads up, while selecting the shape/color of the highlight like in excel, be careful not to make it so that it screams for attention. Try using pastels instead of regular colors or something.

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