Im wondering is it better to have a universal icon/illustration for the empty states. Means that the same message like 'There's nothing here' with X icon on all screens during empty state.

Or is it better to be specific; if its a video screen 'No videos here' with maybe video/film icon, if files 'No files here' with file icon. But there will be more assets here compared to the other option.

Thank you in advance!

  • +1 Interesting question. Do you have any thoughts or seeing any good implementation examples?
    – Michael Lai
    Mar 22, 2020 at 22:50

1 Answer 1


I guess you can argue both ways:

  • Using the same icon will make it more conventional, making it quicker to recognize, and thus might speed orientation.

  • Using different icons will tell the user what to expect in the place of the icon, making it easier to determine whether it actually is the place where the user wanted to go to.

If I had the resources for the project, I would probably try to combine both: Use icons which are very similar in transporting the "nothing here" meaning, but differing in the indication what would be shown in place of the icon.

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