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On our system we have got those 3 statuses for user: unavailable, inactive, blocked. I wonder how we could distinguish them displaying users in a table. Strikethrough obviously recalls a removed item, so it's no use. Some opacity change + icons? Hard nut to crack.

  • Is this about who's logged in? – MMacD Dec 11 '16 at 17:52
  • Technically wouldn't it be four statuses including active? – Michael Lai Dec 11 '16 at 22:46
  • No, it's about workers who are available to work on tasks. Active is a default state and most of users would be in it. PM can manually block users, they can go into inactive when they stop using app for a while, unavailable is set by user her/himself to say she/he has too much work and is not capable to take any more. – mintpandapl Dec 12 '16 at 4:53
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I would add a column which contains the status for the given worker. You will have 3 icons one per status. In order to determine which icons fit your scenario best I would strongly advise picking multiple options and asking your target group to see which ones work best. If the cell is empty it will mean that the worker is currently working on a task. It will be a good idea to experiment with both shape and colour (especially if you have colour-blind workers the shape differentiation will be a bliss).

Having a separate column for the status has multiple advantages:

  • Separating the information - a status is a status, a worker's name is a worker's name. No need to mix the two. The viewer of the table will first see the status (namely the icon in the cell or its absence) and then will move to the name of the worker if that worker satisfies the search criterion (namely his availability)
  • Improving readability - it's easier to spot an icon then stare at the text and determine what formatting it has. Especially if you have a combination of formatting styles it would make it more difficult to remember what's what. Active workers will be made quite visible due to their cells in the status column being empty
  • Aesthetics - in the worst case you will have every next line formatted in a different way than the previous three. But even in far better cases you will still get a formatting chaos which will definitely be irritating to look at (or perhaps it's just me?):

    John Doe

    John Doe

    John Doe

    John Doe

    John Doe

    John Doe

    John Doe

    John Doe

    John Doe

    Add to the above different opacity and/or colour and you get the picture...The more formatting you apply to a text, the less readable it becomes.

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  • +1 I agree with the column for it. But I'm not so sure about leaving an empty field, it might look like it didn't load correctly or some other problem. Also I would try to write the text not relying only in the icon. – Alvaro Jan 10 '17 at 23:27
  • A worker has 4 states - 3 for not being available (for some reason) and a single one for him working on a task. Placing an empty cell (instead of using an icon for it) to indicate "working" would immediately splits the rows in distinguishable groups of working and not working individuals thus allowing (omho) a better overview. I might be wrong of course. :P As for the "might look like it didn't load correctly" - true, but we know nothing about whether all this is loaded in a web browser or is a standalone application. In the second case there is little to no chance of an icon not being loaded. – rbaleksandar Jan 10 '17 at 23:34
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If this is an online-now or similar list, one de-facto standard is an "on" green light, which would be dark and dull for someone not logged in. For "inactive", if you mean "hasn't been seen for awhile", a ghost would work well unless you have a population that often decreases through death. And for "blocked", if you mean "not allowed", a padlock or angle-striped sawhorse (cf blocking street traffic) would work.

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