I'm developing a platform that collects users' data over time; some data are the user's first and last names.

In many cases, I won't be able to collect one or both of these fields immediately and when listing all users, or displaying the profile of a single user, I'd like to make it clear what are the missing fields in an elegant way.

For example, only having a first name could allow displaying "John" while only having the last name could result in "-- Doe". If none are available, maybe the best way would be to say "(no name available)" or "-- --".

How would you handle this, and have you seen any platform tackling this problem gracefully?

  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Best empty string
    – Danielillo
    Jun 12 at 9:01
  • @Danielillo thank you for pointing to this thread, this gives me food for thought even if the subject was broader, it's good to see this subject being discussed.
    – Adrien
    Jun 13 at 0:45
  • Can these fields be updated or added in later, or will they be permanently not available if they are not collected at the beginning? This will then create another potential status for the fields that you need to represent.
    – Michael Lai
    Jun 15 at 0:58
  • 1
    @MichaelLai This is a very good point, the data are actually collected over time, so I am looking for a way to represent these as "Not yet collected / available". Good question! I updated the question to specify this point.
    – Adrien
    Jun 15 at 3:57


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