Part of my duties at my job are to take meeting minutes, which are then uploaded and shared within the Organization and throughout the State. The previous tech writer made a hard-to-read table, where all the gridlines were visible; your basic unformatted Word table. They used an X to mark who was present.

I was given the freedom to create a fresher, cleaner template with hidden lines and zebra stripes. I also use a checkmark next to who was present.

This led to a conversation with a friend and fellow tech writer who said they always use an X to mark who is present. I associate that with "no", "negative", "not present". Whenever I encounter checkbox on a paper form, I've always used a checkmark instead of an X.

My question is, what is the best approach to indicating whether or not someone is present? A more concrete example is if you were creating a webpage that compared features between 2+ products, and you wanted to indicate Product B had features that Product A did not, aside from a bullet, would you use a check or X to say that feature was included?

3 Answers 3


For an online application, checkbox will usually mean Yes while X will mean no.

X for yes, was developed for forms which will be filled by people and when will be interpreted by a machine using OCR.

In your instance, maybe the team moved from an offline to an online solution and kept the template intact.


My recommendation is to use a green check for present and a red X for absence. In addition you can add further details next to the check and X to add more detail about the presence and/or absence. See sample below from a web app to manage student attendance using Chalk.

Image from Chalk showing attendance record

  • I like keeping information density at a minimum so I have left it blank if they're not present. The attendee list is around 40 so I only mark who was there. But I do like your example
    – Stan Bimee
    Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 16:02
  • It is a good candidate for testing with your users. Test both samples and pick the winner. Happy testing 😀
    – Bhupi
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 1:35

There are two questions:"what's the check or X button means ?","how to mark the presence?"

First question:"what's the check or X button means ?"

I totally think 23nigam is right

People always believe the green check means "the thing is right" or "i can get it"

and the red X means "I can't do this"or"I will close it" in the internet enter image description here

The second question:"how to mark the presence?"

In your case, you just want to mark the someone who is present/absent, and your boss or other guys used the X means someone is present, so you can define a new interface,like this: enter image description here

You should avoid the old icon "X",it is make your user have confusion which is the "X" means present or absent.

The green circle also means he is online just like chat software; so your boss will find someone is absent quickly, if he always use chat software.

  • I REALLY like the idea of doing that. A co-worker takes minutes for a different meeting and he just uses boldface for who was present.
    – Stan Bimee
    Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 16:06

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