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Background

We are working on a system that's primary function is for users to upload / store data. As part of this, we have a section where we generate suggested documents to upload based on what they entered previously. The user can then add documents to the suggestion and leave some text comments.

Question

The user is free to edit the original data whenever they like, because of this sometimes the document requirements can become redundant (i.e. no longer required). Currently we remove them from the screen if the user has not uploaded documents against that requirement. However, if they have done something with the requirement, we need to show in some way that this requirement is no longer required, but it still showing because the user has put documents there.

Are they any good examples or generally accepted ways of letting the user know that a data item is no longer required?

Edit

To clarify on the way it works. The user will first fill out their core details in a form. For example, Country of Residence = UK. In the next stage the system will ask for documents to support those answers. For example, a utility bill as proof of address.

The user is always free to go back and forth and update both their core details and the documents. The question focuses on the scenario where the user uploaded their proof of address, but then changes the country of residence (hypothetically lets say to "Unknown"). The system then realizes that the user no longer needs to provide the proof of address, but since they already have we can't just delete it.

  • How is the data displayed normally? – User112638726 Jul 13 '16 at 8:29
  • What is the purpose of the user adding documents to the suggestions? Is this like "pinning" some document to the suggestion list so it's always there? --- It' also unclear wherethe requirements come form, and how requirements interact with the suggesiton list. – peterchen Jul 13 '16 at 9:34
  • The user will fill in their core details e.g. Country of Residence = UK. The system will then decide what documents they should upload to support this. E.g. Utility bill with proof of address. – Jacob Regan Jul 13 '16 at 15:09
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In my opinion, you could use a concept like able/disabled. In other words, you could represent the requirements no longer required in a faded-out, "disabled" mode.

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    Additionally, on mouse-over(hover) you can inform the user that "This is no longer required." – Nikos Antzoulatos Jul 13 '16 at 8:41
  • And if the 'grey out' isn't very clear against the background colours you could show them with a diagonal line through them. – PhillipW Sep 11 '16 at 18:47
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I am not 100% sure what data you are using and not using, but is sounds like you capture data at some point from the user then you are asking the user to input the data again. If you have this data already recorded you can display the data to the user.

Say you ask for a users name on one page and the user gives you there name. and on another page you have a field asking for the users name again but you already have it so you dont want it to be required then you can have the name field already pre-populated with the users name. This also gives the user a chance to make an amendment to the information is they made a typo.

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