I am designing a UI to allow users to set time-based goals.
What is more recognizable, why:
(d) 5h or more
This is tabular layout so saving space, consistent alignment and reducing redundancy are important.
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Unless the directional info is important consider leaving it off. Google maps does this in their voice directions algorithm. When you need to turn in 1.6 kilometers it doesn't say
in less than 2 kilometers or
in a little over 1 kilometer. It simply says,
in 2 kilometers. So far, not knowing the exact distance to the turn hasn't made me miss anymore than just being a bad driver has.
Another reason to leave off additional symbolism is that
9+ could equally mean
>50 could be
In your specific "Goal" example I would simply put
>5. The fact that someone can go beyond their goal's target should be obvious enough to leave the symbol off.
If you feel the need to emphasize that goals are a minimum that can safely be exceeded then try saying that in a single place below the table.
Exceeding the minimum number of hours set as your target Goal is encouraged and might possibly earn you the title of Ninja among your peers!
With only a single number as a reference point then all of the suggestions in the question are valid but some are better than others for the simple reason that the most critical information is the very first character:
this is good because the 5 is first
this is not as good
When people see
99+ in a badge icon they can usually infer that the UI is trying to save space by handling all possible cases in 2 or 3 digits.
For example, when showing the number of appointments scheduled today 9 could be a reasonable maximum but 99 is probably a safer choice. Not many people will have 99 appointments in one day so
99+ is okay to show to handle the few special cases.
Each of the examples you've given could be considered more recognizable depending on the scenario:
a) This indicates a relation between 2 numbers - x is greater than 5. Although it's similar to option d) in it's meaning you haven't provided x which makes it a little ambiguous. I'd also suggest that it's less easily read by users who are not used to reading math notation.
b and c) Are commonly used to denote an increase from x to the current value. For example if your initial estimate was 10hrs, this would denote a total of 15hrs
d) As mentioned above, is similar to a), but being more semantic I'd suggest it's easier to read, there is no missing x here either. However, if you're putting this in a table, repeating 'or more' in lots of rows could clutter the data you're presenting.
If you can provide a bit more context it'll be easier to give a more definite answer.
After your comments, how about something like this?
Colour coding the Goal with (for example) red or green to show a positive or negative connotation would make it even clearer. (Maybe that's what the green circles are in your image?)
Perhaps this order of columns is clearer if you're comparing actual time to Group Average (Benchmark)?
I'm assuming you are wanting to refer to "greater than or equal to"?
If so, you have 5 options.
The 4 you mentioned, and >=5
So from the get go, we can rule out >5 and "greater than 5 hours", for being factually incorrect.
We can rule out +5h, because that has an existing definition, to mean, 'add 5 hours', as in GMT+5
Three answers: >=5h, 5h+ and "greater than or equal to 5 hours" are objectively correct.
5h+ jumps out as being the shortest and the clearest there.