I'm looking for solutions to display something to replace empty pictures. The website I'm working on aggregates activities, and those activities does have a picture most of the time. The results page is very visual.

But I deal with the problem of activities without with no visual matter at all.

Several solutions here:

  • Displaying a colored squared, like Google, it looks great on the results page but not on the activity page
  • Put a generic image from a stock photo, but we have tons of activities so it's hardly scalable, and we lose the graphic identity of the activity
  • Create several designs related to the activity rubrics like 37signals suggested, but might be a titanic work

Have you ever dealt with this problem? Do you have any ideas?

  • 1
    I couldn't understand the context of the question well enough. Who creates the activities, you or the user? When there are pictures, who provides them, you or the user? How many graphics are missing, in relative and absolute terms? How quickly does the need for graphics grow ? Are the pictures reusable within the application, and if yes, how reusable (unique picture per activity, per user and activity combination, per activity instance)?
    – Rumi P.
    Oct 31, 2013 at 15:52
  • Also see ux.stackexchange.com/q/45324/9880
    – JOG
    Oct 31, 2013 at 16:02

2 Answers 2


A nice solution I've seen is to make the "no image available" image smaller than normal images. In this way the Activities page will not look horrible.

Incidentally, you don't necessarily have to use the same design for the results page; if you have the results in a grid and you need a larger empty image placeholder, that's fine, as long as the content is consistent (the "no image" message is the same one in both cases).


If there is additional 'activity' metadata i.e. 'Fitness, Dating, Volunteer Work' - you could use a 'missing image' image that at least communicates what category the activity is in.

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