# Up arrow for increase, Down arrow for decrease, what for no change?

We have a web application that lists prices of a stocks and we have a requirement to indicate a movement. When there's an increase in price we add an up arrow, where there's a decrease in price we add a down arrow.

My thoughts are that we don't show anything as it's not moving, but I would like to validate this. The options that I see are:

• a thin dash (e.g. -),
• a thick dash (e.g.━),
• a (no change) label following the value
• nothing at all

What is the standard for indicating a values movement?

• Unchanged = equal, so how about an equal sign `=`? Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 11:33
• We only have a value, e.g. \$1.00 and either an up arrow and a down arrow, depending if the price has increased or decreased. If I insert an = sign, this is saying = to what? Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 22:36
• I'd say to the same thing as the arrows indicate change to... Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 6:04
• I would uderstand this betrer >=< as it to me represents no movement in either direction. I'd interpret <=> as flexible movement in either direction.... just an opinion. Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 5:36

A fairly standard method is to use a horizontal arrow pointing towards the unchanged figure. If you use colour — red and green for up and down (whichever) — "unchanged" could be grey.

Addendum: It is important to show something! A gap could be interpreted as "We can't tell whether this has moved," "We know this is out of date," or an image which hasn't loaded yet. Since you are indicating movement in the figures, you do need to indicate that you have assessed movement in all the figures where you have actually done that.

• +1 for explaining why it is important to have something for the 'unchanged' state. Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 10:04
• I've not seen this standard before, and it would probably confuse me. To me, an arrow implies motion. I would be left thinking "So this value has moved... to the side? Or clicking it will move something somehow?". If you could provide an example where this is used I would like to see it. Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 13:28
• I would say it's not always important to show something, and sometimes will be better to not do so. If a lot of prices stay the same a lot of the time, then however clear your three markers are, only marking the risers and fallers will (I believe) draw attention them to more clearly if the unchanged entries are not marked. If "being out of date" or "not having data" is a common-enough event that you need to make people aware of it, then you could have a marker for that (e.g. "!"). "Not yet loaded" could perhaps be handled by a background colour that gets overwritten once the image has loaded Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 13:08
• @TripeH If you're loading something in order to change the background, then you're loading something and doing that is important. What you load may be an icon which hardly draws attention to itself, but (I still contend) it is necessary to show something. Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 14:11
• @AndrewLeach OK. I'll accept always loading something (if just to show it's been loaded). Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 14:18

While I agree that a symbol could be used to indicate each of the 3 states, I would also recommend using colour - perhaps red for price drop, green for price rise, black for no change. I wouldn't only use colour, primarily because of red-green colour blindness, but for a majority of people it would be a quicker visual cue to get an overview than using symbols.

Because you are using arrows to indicate up and down, keep the iconography consistent, and use an arrow for no change - pointing sideways, either to the figure, or a double headed arrow pointing both ways.

Mixing the images would be confusing, so keep it consistent. Colour it black or grey - something to indicate neutrality, and the up ones green an the down ones red (or vv if that makes more sense). This means that for most people, they can look at the screen and identify the predominant colour showing easily, and get a very quick overview. Keeping the "no change" neutral means it doesn't interfere with this.

• Using a right or left arrow suggests a change is going on when there are none. Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 0:13
• @Pacerier A double-headed arrow (↔) might help avoid the impression that a change has occurred. Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 17:56

Perhaps one of:

⦵ ⴱ ✕ ⨯ ∅

Of these, the last one may be the closest to the symbol's actual purpose: "Empty Set"

Solution #1

Change is indicated with the Delta symbol.

Therefore, a cross/cancel may be used. Here I just use the Latex cancel package `\cancel{\Delta}`. Specific implementation depends on the software you are using.

However, it's probably more suited for mathematical audiences. For me, this was a solution I was looking for when finding this question.

Solution #2

More stylistically, a dot may be used.

Example:

↑ 5

• 6

↑ 4

↓ 2

• 3

I think people will pick up the meaning quite quickly. It is preferable over a dash which may imply negatives, and preferable over a side-ways arrow which may indicate some change.