Typically this would be the state in which a user would see hints or be prompted to take a tour. What's the correct UX terminology for this? Something along the lines of pristine/dirty as in forms?


3 Answers 3


I think you're talking about two things:

  1. Default state: Everything is set up according to the initial "install".
  2. User on-boarding: The mechanisms designed into the software to help the user develop their proficiency without "reading the manual" or contacting support.

I often refer to this state as the "First Run" state of an application. First Run means that the user has been onramped via some invitation and has arrived at the app and is about to have their first experience.

I refer the experience itself of moving through the first run state the "Welcome Experience". The Welcome Experience can, as you note, include hints or prompts to get the user initiated and off to a good start with the app.


I have encountered it being called 'Zero State', 'Empty State', 'New User' or 'Zero Data'.

Here's a good article that provides a summary on different states that might be educational and added knowledge on this topic as well.

  1. Nothing What happens before your component does anything? Maybe it’s the first time a user sees it. Maybe it’s not activated yet. Essentially, the component exists but hasn’t started.

  2. Loading The dreaded state. In a perfect world, no one would ever see this; Alas, here we find ourselves. There are plenty of ways to keep your loading state subtle and unobtrusive. Facebook does a pretty good job of this:

  3. None Your component has initialized, but it’s empty. No data. No Items. Now may be a good time to get the user to act (“Do this thing!”), or to reward them (“Good job, everything is taken care of”).

  4. One You have some data. On an input, this may be after the first keystroke. In a list, it might be when you have one item (or one left).

  5. Some This is usually what you think of first. What is the ideal state for this component? Your data is loaded, you have input, and the user is familiar with it.

  6. Too many Woah there! The user has overdone it in some way. Too many results (maybe you paginate them now), too many characters (maybe ellipses?), and so on.

  7. Incorrect Something is not right about the component. An error has occurred.

  8. Correct Good to go! This item has had its needs satisfied.

  9. Done The user’s correct input has been received by the application. They don’t have to worry about it anymore.

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