Let's say that there are different numbers presented to the user - money values ($1.50), percentage values (+25.53%), development values (+$3.50), etc. In case there is an error in retrieving one of these, or all values - how should this be communicated to the user? Not showing any numbers and displaying an error? Showing greyed out zeros for values ($0.00)?

Let's say one value is loaded and other two are not - is showing one of them and hiding the ones that hasn't loaded is okay and wouldn't be confusing? Or placing something in place of error numbers would be preferred?


  • 1
    +1 good question! Is this for a project that you are working on, or a general observation about a gap in design patterns that isn't adequately addressed?
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 22:44
  • 1
    This doesn't sound like an error related to numerical values themselves, but rather an error fetching or calculating them.
    – xdhmoore
    Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 19:57

2 Answers 2


You can't show a numerical value because that would imply a value, which is a wrong value by definition.

I'd better say you would display a message saying something like "error getting number" with a link to why there may be the error.


You can consider having a progressive state while the system fetches 3 values.

  1. When no values retrieved or there is any error, communicate through the error message. Showing 00 can be conflicted with a use-case when there is no error, but the retrieved value itself is 0. [This is an assumption I am making here]. Hence refraining from this would be helpful to understand the visual cue in each distinct case. You can consider having "-" or "N/A" or any other visual cue i.e related to failed.

  2. Include all 3 options instead of hiding. Communicate why the other 2 values are empty.

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