I'm working on a project that involves assignment management for students. The basic functionality is that once the student completes an assignment, they check it off of the list. I'm wondering how to best show already completed tasks as students may need to access this information at a later date (i.e. exams, quizes, etc.).

One solution that was suggested is to just have two categories stacked on top of each other — completed tasks and tasks that need completing. The app, Wunderlist, was cited as an exemplar for this method. This seems like a weak solution to me but I'm having trouble giving a rational reason as to why it's not ideal because I can't find any related research. Can you suggest a solution or point me to a link where similar research has been done?

  • This question could use some more detail. What kind of page will this be? A big summary dashboard? A page that only shows questions in specific unit or lesson? A search results page? Each context could require a separate solution for sorting the tasks into relevant categories.
    – sirtimbly
    Jul 16, 2012 at 22:09
  • Why do you think that 2 lists isn't a good pattern? That would be the reason for someone to research it.
    – dnbrv
    Jul 17, 2012 at 5:05
  • @dnbrv Correct - which is part of what the OP is looking for, advice/direction because "I'm having trouble giving a rational reason as to why it's not ideal because I can't find any related research".
    – gef05
    Jul 17, 2012 at 6:00
  • @gef05 I know I'm correct. I'm asking why he doesn't like the pattern: "This seems like a week solution to me".
    – dnbrv
    Jul 17, 2012 at 14:26

2 Answers 2


Considering that you are just showing a page with a list of task, I will approach it as a TASK app. A list with sortable headers so that the list can sorted based on Completion date or status of the task (Complete or incomplete or in progress).

The table will help the students to see not only which task is complete but also give an overview of what time they took to complete the task.

Making the table more interactive and dynamic will make it more fun to work on. Like showing results along with the task (if result is applicable) or show teachers feedback if it is available. It can also help in making it as a tracker and not just a task list. Let students set alarms for task so that they can keep track of their timetable.

Generally we have seen, that a completed task is shown in a strikeout text format. Please refer to google task to see what I mean.

  • 1
    Thanks for the reply. "In progress" is not really a concern at this point, primarily "Complete" and "Incomplete". Ultimately we will make it interactive and dynamic but the first rollout is going to be small and mostly for functionality. I looked at Google Task and it's probably too far on the simple end of what I'm looking for. Students will have to be able to go back and review these tasks when an exam comes up later on. Crossing the items off isn't ideal for that. It seems as though I may be stuck with two columns/one long column of "Complete" and "Incomplete" for now.
    – Alex
    Jul 17, 2012 at 18:12

I like Ajayashish's answer of providing the completed text as a strikeout since that would highlight it from the remaining text and specify that the user might not have to concern them selves with it. Another alternative solution would be to grey out the completed tasks or put it as a marked checkbox. ( I know the screenshots below are mostly phone apps which might not be applicable to your case but they give a starting point of how a single list could be used to convey information of whats pending and what could be done)

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Here is an example of a desktop application which handles the options pretty well while providing the feature to expand and view details as needed on one single screen

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