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In a web app used by highly-technical (sys admins, network engineers, etc.) English-speaking (though not all natively) users, I need to represent that a certain parameter has a value of more than one hundred. For technical (database-related) reasons, we can only grab 100 records at a time, so we can't initially show precise numbers over 100.

I use what I call 'Stat Tiles' to show data like this. So I need decide the best way to communicate this concept.

Here are a couple of options. My question is, is either of these (or another option) objectively better than the other(s), and why?

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  • I suspect the answer you get here will be largely opinion-based. I suggest you print each of the options on a separate piece of paper, go to your sys admins, network engineers, etc show one option at random to each person and ask them what they understand from the tile. You will also want to factor in the response time and how much coaching is needed to arrive at the right answer. – Andrew Martin Oct 28 '16 at 15:16
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    The plus symbol is a more common mathematical symbol, and arguably has the edge in 'recognizability', but this may be negated by they technical level of the users. This is one line of thinking, I was hoping others might uncover more lines. Other languages with similar characters? To be honest, I pretty much know which one I'm going to use, but I like to have my bases covered. As for testing, we have thousands of users across the globe, so I'd probably be doing some flavor of '5 second test', but I can't really justify that, given how uncritical to the interaction this is. – dennislees Oct 28 '16 at 15:30
  • " we can only grab 100 records at a time " sounds like the devs are lazy/don't know how to use count or simply don't want to do it for some other reason. What is the point of displaying a number, any number then ? – Keno Oct 28 '16 at 20:18
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    Ah, yes! This half-baked opinion solved my problem. There can be absolutely NO other reasons why this might be difficult to do, aside from the incompetence and laziness of my engineers. Hugely insightful. Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks. – dennislees Oct 29 '16 at 3:43
  • To be fair, assuming an amount of incompetence, laziness and misanthropy, amongst engineers, leads to their deliberate collusion on strategies to obfuscate their activity and avoid responsibility is like estimating stupidity; you'll always undershoot reality. – Confused Oct 29 '16 at 8:58
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When faced with a choice, in UI/UX, I like to reduce based on critical analysis of potential problems with any choice, in order to deductively resolve to the better/best.

 >100                                

By itself, that's looks fine, if you presuppose the meaning. It's a mathematical "expression, read as "greater than". IF you presuppose the meaning and intent.

The problem with the greaterThan use of an > is that this symbol has been abused for all sorts of other things in UI/UX since the dawn of computing.

Therefore it creates uncertainty in its meaning... and the subsequent action from tapping on anything that has this symbol, because it is (within UIs) rarely used to indicate "greater than".

Common Use: it's almost always used to indicate direction, the carat, or the ability to open/close a hierarchy. Yes, the context of the number helps, somewhat, but it's in exactly the same spot a hierarchical indication usage put its. So... are we going to immediately roll out a list? etc.

 100+                                

This is not burdened with the same conflation. Plus is rarely used on the right side in UIs for anything other than a volume of entities indication. If it was on the other side, we'd have a problem, as it might mean to add 100. But on this side, it's doing a sterling job of indicating that there's more than 100 items.


Given the choice between these two, the preponderance of evidence suggests you've got no choice but to add the plus sign to the maximum value indicator you have. A century, in this case. Bat on, good chap.

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