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Let me explain what I need...

I have a dashboard for transportation companies. In that dashboard, we have info about the user and all the invoices that he made:

  • the ones that he has to correct something
  • the ones that he has to send to the customer
  • the ones that the didn't finish

In all those 3 cases the user has to do something about them, it has to be clear that the user needs to fix or take some action on these invoices.

How can I make it clear to the user that these blocks are in need of some "action"?

I attached the dashboard the way it is right now. The section I'm talking about is the one on the left, the one with the Bill Gates' profile picture...

Dashboard now

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How often is the user expected to take this action? If it is something they do every time that they log into the site, then early education will do the trick, and they will learn it.

Think about when you open your email client, your first reaction is to check for new mail and read new messages and you don't necessarily need anything more than a 'notifications badge' to tell you that you have something new to look at. If that is the same situation here, you may only need a symbol showing how many new actions there are to take. See the picture below:

enter image description here

If, however, this is an uncommon occurrence, and it's not likely that a user is going to know that they have to correct an invoice, then something more obvious might be required. Like a large label over the section that says 'action required', or maybe you put a banner at the top of the page saying the same thing.

If it's uncommon and it is an important action, then it is more than okay use something that is more disruptive to inform the user that they have something to do.

Consider the scenario for your user and the use cases, without knowing more about the product and user behaviour it is hard to make a more specific suggestion. However, notification badges are quite common and recognisable as presenting new actions that need to be taken.

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Add a 'Call to Action'

We use the general term 'Call to Action (CTA)' to refer to design elements that communicate to the user "This is the thing you're supposed to do within this larger element".

[Buy Now]

[Edit]

[Approve]

Whatever the relevant verb is for that feature of the dashboard, have your designer incorporate a text link or button that communicates to the user "This is what this element is for".

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