I have to design a report with validated information about the data entered. In some fields I have a typical triple state.

Imagine a file. That file belongs to a report model file. When uploading it, it can pass the validation or not pass it. The third state would be that this file model has not been uploaded, but the client would know that as it's not needed.

Let me give an example:


  • A file added which pass the validation -> & # 10003;
  • A file added which didn't pass the validation -> x
  • The file is not uploaded, so it isn't needed -> ?????

Ideally, Nathan Rabe told me in the answer. In case there is no file, it is not displayed. But the product owner has insisted on it because apparently it is something usual in the sector.

That third state "missing/not necessary" ... there is any standardized or similar icon? I do not see any good example on the web and I can not think of something recognizable.

Edit: the file that is not necessary needs an icon because it is the last step of the validation and the user can not load anything after creating the report.

Edit 2: I reformulated the question because I see language barrier and that dark business logic is giving problems

  • Does the third state need an icon? Would a missing icon on the report tell your users that no file was required, or is there a chance it would be interpreted as meaning a file was not added (yet)? Jul 17, 2019 at 12:39
  • It need an icon. The user have to known that the file was not added. The report is the final step of a validation, so the user can't upload a file after that (bussiness logic). I'm going to edit the answer with this info
    – Killroy
    Jul 17, 2019 at 12:45
  • I don't know if language is a barrier here, but that explanation doesn't make sense. Jul 17, 2019 at 13:15
  • Sorry. I'm going to trying to reformulate the question now I'm in home and have some time
    – Killroy
    Jul 17, 2019 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


Consider marking only the files that need user attention.

Having icons for the good, bad, and indifferent can clutter up the report and make it hard for the user to find the information that is important to them.

If files that are good or not required do not need any user action, they may not need an icon. That would draw more attention to the bad files (X) and the missing files (?) which could each get unique icons. That would allow a user to skim the report and verify that there is nothing for them to do or have their eyes jump right to the information they need.

  • The problem is that the three states are information the user needs to know. If a file is updated, the user needs to know if it's good or bad, but if a file is missing, the user needs to know too because It could be not needed in that report. I know, it's a rainy case in ux (or maybe my post isn't too clear. If that the case, I try to explain further)
    – Killroy
    Jul 17, 2019 at 15:06
  • 1
    You've actually listed 4 states for a file: good, bad, missing, and not required. They are probably not all equally important, so it comes back to what a user needs to do with that information. If some states require the person reading the report to do something, or they are looking for files with a specific state, those are the ones that should be highlighted (regardless of which states they are). When everything is important, nothing is. Jul 17, 2019 at 15:31
  • Yeah, my bad for explaining that way. Missing a file means that the file isn't required. It's truly a nearly-dark business logic wich I needed a lot of explains to understand it. That kind of meaning is usual in the business scope so mainly, I have three states again. I know is truly twisted and I'm fighting for giving some nice ux and Jakob's law use, but here I need to show an icon giving the info "that file is not uploaded so it's no required".
    – Killroy
    Jul 17, 2019 at 19:12

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