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We have a pretty large CMS for fleets and sometimes people leave some optional input fields blank. Displaying that information on the screen doesn't help anyone, and from my point of view it looks silly to have a label without a value. For example, street:

We thought about removing the label with if else statement, but it's to heavy and looks bad.

We also thought about writing a helper method (ruby guys will understand) that is attached to each value, that shows N/A for each value that is nil.

What would you suggest to do in this situation?

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migrated from May 18 '13 at 12:01

This question came from our site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development.

What you can do is format the information in a useful way depending if in edit mode or not.

Your example seems to be about an address, address is a good example.

In edit mode display the information as a form to help the user, in view mode format it as classic posting address for instance.

Therefore unused fields will not appear.

Example in Facebook's About:

Edit mode :

enter image description here

View mode

enter image description here

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That an input field has no value is sometimes also important information. Also, if you hide the field, it's not visible that there could have been a value for "street" had it been entered.

Filling a field with a fallback value like "N/A" or "-" will make the omission more explicit but at the same time makes empty fields stand out less.

So, whether leaving out empty fields makes sense or not depends on the situation: it's not always true that it doesn't help anyone. I wouldn't be so concerned about labels without values looking silly: this is about clearly communicating data, and no data is also data. If you want it to look pretty, hook up with a graphic designer.

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