Anyone know of any research or guidelines on if/when relying on the absence of negative feedback is more appropriate than providing explicit positive feedback?
Background: I'm working on an information-dense UI with numerous tables and suchlike, which is fine for the audience we're designing for. At the moment, the only kind of status message you're likely to see on the page is when something has generated a warning or an error. If no warnings or errors are visible, then everything is "fine".
We were having a conversation today about whether that's good enough, or whether it would be more reassuring if you were explicitly shown that there were no warnings or errors. All else being equal, I'd imagine it probably would. But in an information-rich display where every pixel is a prime piece of real estate, and everything should be "fine" most of the time, finding the space to show that there are no warnings or errors would inevitably mean having to slightly reduce the amount of other information we could display.
Of course our users will be the ultimate arbiters of which piece of information is more important to them, but we do strive to make the best design decisions we can up to the point at which we show them any prototypes :)
EDIT: In response to one of the answers below, it's worth noting that the UI isn't really continuously monitoring for any errors/warnings, but rather infrequently polling. In fact, it's quite likely you'd only log on to the system once or twice a week to check for any errors/warnings, rather than keeping an eye on it all the time.