I'm working on a checklist for new transfer students to guide them through the onboarding process at their new University. They have certain tasks they need to complete, and others that are optional. For example, they MUST submit a Tuberculosis screening questionnaire, but they MAY or MAY NOT apply for Financial Aid, Housing, etc. There is one item that they must complete first, but all other items can be completed at any time and at any order.
I went through this post: How to present a todo list / checklist to a user and I agree with the gist of the top answer, but I'm struggling with the best way to represent items that are optional.
Currently, I am showing a green arrow or a red cross if an item is completed or not. The problem is that to me a red cross implies something "bad" and I wonder if users would get confused. Below is a very rough draft that shows what I mean.