Which indication of "high" level is more understandable?

For example, when users sees an indicator (v2) on the humidifier that was launched for the first time is he going to think that sensor hasn't calibrated yet, as it shows low, medium and high levels simultaneously?

Is v1 better because it highlights only the current state and has less visual noise?


  • Why do all 3 indicators need to be visible at once, when they're mutually exclusive? Dec 30 '18 at 2:57
  • @EvilClosetMonkey, I think v2 is a bad option but I saw such indication on a real humidifier so I wanted to ask if I'm right.
    – Peter
    Dec 30 '18 at 6:28

Are these mutually exclusive choices? Make it clear which state is being held.

The first version (v1) highlights a single choice.

Think of which would be clearer if these were radio buttons (a fairly common control), in which a single choice is necessary:

The same problem, expressed as a radio button:

enter image description here

The second version (v2) can be perceived as a continuum.

The second version you have displayed could be mistaken for a situation similar to a wifi signal, or a battery, in which users assess strength along a continuum, from 0 to 100%, or weak to strong. That doesn't seem to be the case you're alluding to.

Test with your users, and see if they perceive the levels (or modes) as a single state or a continuum.


V1 makes much more sense because it highlights the important information. V2 lets the user some space of interpretation, which isnt the way you should take.

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