How to tell user that his account balance is unknown, but not a zero in case of network problems or something else.

If you use zero balance, he could grasp phone and call you (or your technical service).

Could you advise solution?

It is not an empty state, it is an unknown state.


  • Could you use a cached value along with some sort of flag to show that the value is from cache and not live? Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 15:10
  • @AndrewMartin it is ok if value is exists in cache. And if it doesn't exists? Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 15:19

2 Answers 2


Technically, if service is down or unavailable chances are the app would be down as well. Unless there are other valid use case for the app to be up and functional. Anyway, you can simply state the real issue or just have a general statement such as "service not available" or "unavailable".

enter image description here


JonT's answer looks intuitive and correct. My contribution...

Complexities might be:

  • Sometimes words like 'unavailable' have specific meanings in institutions and sectors such as banks. Check that this isn't the case here. You also might like to add it to the glossary of terms if one exists, so that there is a specific definition of the term. If one doesn't exist, then maybe it should.
  • Consider adding a contextual help link next to it. It could generate calls, which is usually not ideal from a business point of view, so providing help at point of need would be useful. You need to say WHY it might be unavailable, and provide reassurance that something hasnt happened to security, and maybe guidance (refresh after a few minutes). The problem here is that many large organisations have no direct link between content management (that update Help) and UI designers, so often these things are missed
  • OR Consider linking to an error page which elaborates the Unavailable status some more - the WHY and the WHEN it should be fixed, and the WHAT to do if it persists

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.