Up arrow for increase, Down arrow for decrease, what for no change?

  • We have a web application that lists prices of a stocks and we have a requirement to indicate a movement. When there's an increase in price we add an up arrow, where there's a decrease in price we add a down arrow.

    My thoughts are that we don't show anything as it's not moving, but I would like to validate this. The options that I see are:

    • a thin dash (e.g. -),
    • a thick dash (e.g.━),
    • a (no change) label following the value
    • nothing at all

    What is the standard for indicating a values movement?

    Unchanged = equal, so how about an equal sign `=`?

    We only have a value, e.g. $1.00 and either an up arrow and a down arrow, depending if the price has increased or decreased. If I insert an = sign, this is saying = to what?

    I'd say to the same thing as the arrows indicate change to...

    I would uderstand this betrer >=< as it to me represents no movement in either direction. I'd interpret <=> as flexible movement in either direction.... just an opinion.

  • Andrew Leach

    Andrew Leach Correct answer

    9 years ago

    A fairly standard method is to use a horizontal arrow pointing towards the unchanged figure. If you use colour — red and green for up and down (whichever) — "unchanged" could be grey.

    Addendum: It is important to show something! A gap could be interpreted as "We can't tell whether this has moved," "We know this is out of date," or an image which hasn't loaded yet. Since you are indicating movement in the figures, you do need to indicate that you have assessed movement in all the figures where you have actually done that.

    +1 for explaining *why* it is important to have something for the 'unchanged' state.

    I've not seen this standard before, and it would probably confuse me. To me, an arrow implies motion. I would be left thinking "So this value has moved... to the side? Or clicking it will move something somehow?". If you could provide an example where this is used I would like to see it.

    I would say it's not _always_ important to show something, and sometimes will be better to not do so. If a lot of prices stay the same a lot of the time, then however clear your three markers are, only marking the risers and fallers will (I believe) draw attention them to more clearly if the unchanged entries are not marked. If "being out of date" or "not having data" is a common-enough event that you need to make people aware of it, then you could have a marker for that (e.g. "!"). "Not yet loaded" could perhaps be handled by a background colour that gets overwritten once the image has loaded

    @TripeH If you're loading something in order to change the background, then you're loading something and doing that is important. **What** you load may be an icon which hardly draws attention to itself, but (I still contend) it is necessary to show something.

    @AndrewLeach OK. I'll accept always _loading_ something (if just to show it's been loaded).

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