When there is no data for some of the attributes (key/value pairs) in the info/properties card, what is the best way to represent it? IMO, those attributes with null values to be shown as well with "-" as values.

Or is it better to not show the attributes at all? Any recommendations?

  • 2
    I'd say a big dollop of "it depends". Sometimes, and/or for some data, I'd prefer to see all keys listed consistently, with data popping-in and -out of view as appropriate (especially if I were moving down a list and the properties were shown in a pane). Other times, or for other data, I'd only want to see keys that have a value. Your best bet would be to ask the users under which circumstances they would prefer one or the other.
    – TripeHound
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 13:16
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    Will the user know the key exist if a null value is not present? Or will they completely forget such a key exists at all?
    – Nicolas
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 14:15
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    Is NULL or Zero data? A general distinction would be are you filtering data, or returning data. If you’re returning data, the need to show NULL results generally goes up with the technicality of data. Filtered results usually never show null. Technical research behooves showing NULL. I would ask in general, does showing showing NULL answer a question? Or, are your users asking that question? Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 15:51
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    Specific example of key/value pairs would be helpful. In some cases, it would be useful to show them so they can be filled out (contact info in an address book). In others, it might not be.
    – 習約塔
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


It looks like it's best to display nothing if that fits your case (solution 1).

Some default grayed out values like <no data> can be used as well if there is a need to distinguish between empty strings and null values (solution 2).

Gray dashes can be used as well (solution 3), however, it doesn't seem to be a better solution than not showing anything at all, but just adds unnecessary visual clutter.

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