Shape/Symbol to use for VISITED Button State (?)

Hello everyone:

I wanted to solicit the community for some feedback or ideas for a "Visited" Button state, a shape or symbol to use for this conceptual message.

For "Completed", it's pretty easy, just use some variation or idea of a CHECKMARK symbol, but for "Visited", this is somewhat challenging, as this is a fuzzier,
harder-to-pin-down idea for a clear image/shape to use, from the learner/consumer's perception, or standpoint.


Many thanks!


12 Replies
Mark Shepherd

Hi Phil:

Good idea! I have changed this color to something more suitable to imply visited.

However, given that I have a symbol for Completed, it seems incomplete to reflect Visited's state in a "just-color-change" manner, without a shape or symbol to provide labeling and direction.

Still searching...;)


Mark Shepherd

Random thoughts regarding this Project Development Item:

So, what shape or symbol should I use for a Visited State on a Button (?)


  • An ellipsis (three dots - "...")
  • A path or trail shape
  • A map marker
  • A pile of breadcrumbs? Nope, unclear visual...;)
  • A progress indicator? No, too small, and would be mixed up with other concepts.

This is a TOUGH one! Any other ideas more than welcome!

Phil Mayor

I think you are over thinking the solution.  Why do you want to show visited?  Is it for a menu and you want to show in progress as opposed to completed.  In that situation then maybe incomplete or in progress is a better analogy.

In games and web pages often they will just add in progress in text with an ellipsis. IN this situation it probably is good to know the context, as in some situations visited and completed with be the same.

Mark Shepherd

Ok, look, I'm going to drop this.

I asked what I thought was a very simple question, and from your tone, I'm getting the impression that you don't want to acknowledge and/or address my need.

And I get that. 

But I made a commitment to a solution path, a good one, to customizing a clickable button state for Completed.  And it looks good. 

This is a context-agnostic situation.  It's generic.  I'm going to use this in many situations, so there is no real need for context.  It's not complicated.

I'm far from the only developer who's done this, so it's not THAT unusual.

And yes, I need a comparable Symbol for Visited. That's it, that's all.

I didn't think my posed question was a difficult one. 

I mean, HONESTLY.  It's a SHAPE.  I hardly think that's complex.

Challenging, yes, but hardly impossible.

But again, I'm getting the impression that this request might be a bit much to ask, despite my thinking it would be straight-forward.

And if, by comparison, I'm asking too much, that's OK, really.  Just say so.

BTW, I've investigated progress bars for my project. 

It doesn't really work for what I have in mind.  I'm repurposing an existing design to save some time, and so I'm constrained a little in what I can do.

Maybe an ellipsis is the best I can come up with here as a symbol, but it's not comparable to a checkmark, as it's not as precise as that is.

I get you are trying to help, but please, don't make me feel like I'm asking too much.

I mean, I just joined here and have contributed to a few discussions, looking to help out. 

So I'd like to feel more welcome.

And if it's not too much to ask, please give me a little breathing space, and, if necessary, please cut me a little slack. 

I shouldn't have to justify my questions and approaches to the nth degree. 

I just try to do what works for both me and my clients.

Sound good?



Phil Mayor

Hey Mark,

I asked a few simple questions there was no irritation or tone to my response. I really think you are over thinking this, I would expect that 90% of developers would just use a colour change for visited and that in most situations completed and visited are interchangeable.

The only time I would expect to use something different are when it is in progress and you need to show this to the user. Something like an ellipsis is going to need explaining to the user

Context is important here as  ellipsis normally means you need to do something more or there is more to follow, if used generically then it may get confusing if the have visited and need to do something else.  My general rule is to look at what websites use (as users will be used to these) and there is no real common convention here.

Only trying to help, hopefully some other people will chime in hear and help you out.


Nicole Legault

Hi Mark - good to see you here around the E-Learning Heroes forums! Interesting question you've posed here.

It's a pretty specific situation because I don't usually use a specific shape to indicate that an item has been visited, I typically have used a simple color change. However, if I did want to use shapes to indicate to a learner that they have already visited a part of the content but that it is not complete, I might use the following type of shapes to indicate the various levels of completion:

Of course it could even go a step further and depending on how much of the content is visited you could fill up circle to various degrees. 


Anyways this is just an idea... hope it helps! :) Good luck on your project. By the way - are you attending the CSTD/ILP conference in Toronto next week? 


Christopher Grant

Hi Mark

I really like Nicole's idea for symbols.


However, I often use the technique  as described above by Phil. It works particularly well in courses such as the one I am developing right now which has a menu where users need to select each option. The initial state is a lovely shade of green, and changes to grey when it has been visited...

Mark Shepherd

Hi Chris:

Wow, these are really nice examples. 

I am kind of swamped at the moment, because I am working on a deadline to get my current ELP tested and finished up.

I am going to spend part of today and tomorrow catching up on this thread, so I work on bringing some of these wonderful ideas in to future projects!

Thanks again,


Mark Shepherd

Hi Nicole:

Great to see Ottawa-based and other Canadian ELP folks in the forum! :)

I love your idea of partial progress. I kind of envisioned something similar, as it is really clear and provides a sense of gradual/partial completion vs. full completion.

Plus, it has the added benefit of simplicity and being super easy to create in PowerPoint. ;)

Unfortunately, I can't make the CSTD conference next week.  Too busy with projects! :)

A good friend of mine, Alan Daly, is a learning content specialist, and is closely associated with CSTD, so very likely he will attend.

If he is, I will make sure to let him know you are attending, so he can touch base with you!