I have an application that in essence takes files and imports them into a database. As these files can take a while to import, we have a queue of these tasks that get run one-by-one. As such, each task has a status.

We currently have these statuses:

  • Pending
  • Running
  • Failed
  • Succeeded

Here lies a problem - the end users of the system want to know if their database has been changed, even if the whole task ultimately failed (tasks can fail to import one specific thing but continue on to the next item). It has been suggested that we introduce more task states to indicate this (so we would have something like Running, Pending, Failed To Start, Completed With Errors, Succeeded), but I'm concerned that this is just making it more confusing for users.

How could I represent what is essentially two separate bits of information better, but still keep it easy to filter a list of tasks visually at a glance?

1 Answer 1


I guess you have two lists: those tasks which are in queue, and those which are already out.

The pending and running tasks are in queue. Add a play icon to the topmost one that it's the running one, done.

As for the others, there are succesful runs, and errorneous runs. Succesful runs are easy, for the others, just have a quick description on why did it failed. Perhaps you could introduce a "partial success" sign with a warning.


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Something along these lines...

  • We don't really want two lists. I like your use of "partial" though - that is something we haven't considered before. Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 13:57
  • @adrianbanks You could certainly combine the two lists, though, perhaps by making the "Running" status into "Started at <time>". Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 7:40

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