I'm working on a dashboard where there may be a delay in populating content (charts) when an account is first set up. With this scenario, I have created blank states as well as a message that informs new users that data is in the process of being collected and will populate once done.

The second scenario is that the account has been active for a while, but there is no activity in their data collection. While I cannot reveal what the project is, a similar example would be using Fitbit for the first time, and then you stop using it for a while. When you go back to check your dashboard, the charts would display no activity just as it was when you logged in for the first time.

My question is, while the context of these scenarios are different should the visualization also be different? Or is it just a matter of changing the message but not the charts? Hope this all makes sense.

2 Answers 2


while the context of these scenarios are different should the visualization also be different?

Not necessarily, as long as your message does not confuse the user and provides the right copy in the right context.

More details

  1. Upon first login the user may expect that there may not be enough data for the dashboard or if it takes time to update the data. It's on the application to show correct message and educate the user "when" the data may be available.
  2. Upon a log post a long pause (Fitbit), you DON'T want to confuse the user with same generic message the've seen when they registered. Displaying an alternate message would be more appropriate. (eg. "Welcome back! Dashboard will update as we collect more activity or to view your all history activity".
  • thanks @Igorek This is what I'm leaning towards. The charts themselves are reflective of the data, which in both cases are no activity. But the message we display is dependent on the context.
    – Camay
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 19:41

You could change the charts to reflect current situation and mix in some emotional design. For example if you have a chart with time axis put in the actual/recent dates and show an imaginary progress from the time user first signed-up.

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