Empty states

Empty states are the screens built-into a user flow within the step when there is nothing to show. They can be used to create brand awareness, enhance personal touch or solve user onboarding issues.


Blank screens without any help for the user appear when the designer forgets about empty states implementation. It can lead to confuse and disappoint.

Varieties as a Design Pattern

#1 – First Use

This is a state which the user sees when first entering the system. It is a great opportunity for onboarding guidance and helping the user to get acquainted with your product.


Onboarding screen by Simon Lürwer

#2 – Cleared Data

This is an empty state when the user has made an action to clear all the saved information, for example, to empty the trash bean – so there is nothing to display.


One Shopping Cart for Everything by Cuberto


‍#3 – Error Occured

This is another empty state, more often considered as an Error 404, when the system doesn’t have any answer to the user’s action – Wi-Fi connection problem for instance.


No Internet Connection screen by Hega Putra Pratama

#4 – No Results

This is a state when there is no data for the user’s request in the system.

There is always an opportunity to make the user’s experience pleasurable and meaningful. Another way to upgrade your interface design from onboarding step to user interaction with a brand is empty states. This is what you should know about this feature.


Error page design by Ida Chow


Tips When Working with Empty States

The Main Principle is Empathy‍

Good design should try to understand the user's problem and help to solve it or provide alternative solutions.

‍Visualization is Important

Support your solution with an illustration to enhance the topic or to calm the user (check the nature usage in illustrations and how it works as an anti stress tool due to its biophilia effect).

‍Helpful Guidance and Action Opportunity

There should be one or two action buttons at most to make the user’s decision easier. It is easy to overlook and forget about empty states, but these are the interface elements that make your product more effective and human-oriented.

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