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I'm working on a project where we, amongst other views, have a grid displaying a list of units around the world and their last given status. Each unit can also have a live connection between itself, a central server and a webpage will display this.

Today, we're indicating that a unit has a live connection by displaying a little rss-icon as seen in this image (blue lamp saying "Running Outhole"): enter image description here

Whenever there's no connection, all we do is remove the rss-icon and slightly change the opacity of the blue lamp (Lamp also changes colors based on a state, regardless of its connection status). The text stays, indicating that whatever value it might have at the moment was the last known status. There's been some debate whether this is a sufficient way of telling the user that the unit is either connected or that the user is looking at historical data.

Ultimately, I guess my questions is whether this form of indicating a live or "not live" connection to the user is sufficient and clear enough?

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possible duplicate of How do you create or select an icon for a feature? –  Benny Skogberg Feb 12 at 10:54

1 Answer 1

I think the main thing to focus on is that live connection is not static (it's a flow of ddata), so it should not be presented in a form of static picture. Instead, you should use an animated icon, letting user know, that the connection status is constantly checked.

The icon animation should be minimal, especially if you have a dashboard with a lot of these e.g. you can blink the dot in the rss-like icon green twice every some seconds.

Regarding color coding, I would personally prefer using street lights colors - green for connection that is live, red for dead one and orange when connecting/trying to reconnect.

By the way, for reconnecting (which is also a process in time) you should also use animation. You can also consider short confirmation of the connection establishment in a form of displaying another information "Connected!" on the label for a while (exclamation mark communicates success in this case).

Here's my idea:

Connection status

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Thanks for your suggestions! I might not have been clear enough when explaining; the colors have nothing to do with the connection state. They represent events on the unit. I.e. Something is wrong, emergency stop (Typically colored red). So, the main focus here is the connection signal only. However, I like your ideas on the short animations in the different cases! :) –  Nicklas Winger Feb 12 at 13:28
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Have in mind you can still use the label colors for that - these are white in my example, I only focus on the color of the "orb" I used or any icon you use for that. You should just make sure the contrasts in each case will still keep both icon and its backround label easily legible. –  Dominik Oslizlo Feb 12 at 13:42

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