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I have a system where we show customer name in a list, but for certain items, the customer name needs to be confidential. Right now our system displays name hidden. We are thinking of doing something that is more visually appealing and just as understandable. One option is to have a generic name that is blurred out. Or maybe make it look like redacted document? I am posting this to find out if I am missing some standard way of doing this or maybe someone will have a better idea than mine.

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Personally I would spell it out - use the term "Confidential" in place of the customer name; this way there is no ambiguity. You could also make this term a link or provide a tool tip to provide further explanation i.e "This customer's name is confidential and cannot be displayed".

Providing an incorrect name or just using a colour would be confusing. I think most people would think there was an error displaying the data rather than a business rule meaning it could not be displayed. I think there are also issues using red (typically indicates a problem; also not clear with people with colour blindness).

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As you said, the customer name is confidential. I would suggest just putting that as the text, and with a soft red text color to give a better visual cue that it is confidential. Red is often the standard color for that sort of thing. If you want to stick with the default text color, italicized might be a better option than soft red.

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