I'm working on an app that has to have 3 statuses for products. Here's what we've got so far:

  • Active
  • Maybe
  • Dead

Essentially Active products are always allowed, Maybe products can be allowed, but are essentially "use with caution" - "limited availability" might be one reason for this status, but others include "superseded by another product." Dead products are in the catalog for reference only and cannot be used - most likely because we literally can't make them any more (components not available, for instance).

This is an internal app - not a public web store or anything like that. The labels above are what the product folks came up with. My programmer's mind would have used "Active", "Deprecated", and "Obsolete", but those are admittedly a little too technical for most of the users of the app - they would have a hard time remembering which of Deprecated or Obsolete means "you can't use this ever."

I am OK with Active but strongly dislike the other two options, most especially "Maybe," so I am looking for some help coming up with one word alternatives. I was thinking of "disallowed" but had a hard time coming up with something between "allowed" and "disallowed."

Any thoughts from the wise and knowledgeable EngStack crew?


Since a few folks have answered along the lines of "Unknown" I should clarify that we know exactly what's up with these products, it's just that they're not exactly Active or Inactive (for instance).

  • I should add that our Customer Relationship Management system (which we are not actively using for products) uses "Locked" and "Archived" for "Maybe" and "Dead. Those aren't terrible, but I would like to propose something clearer and more evocative. – cori Dec 9 '10 at 14:34
  • Not clear if "the product folks' are also the ones who will be using this. If so, use their words - they are the ones who need to understand it, whether you do or not! Otherwise, with ANY app, User Testing is the way to go - find your target audience and determine from them what makes sense to them. The people here are only going to be guessing, however good our intentions may be. – mickeyf Dec 9 '10 at 14:45
  • yes, the "product folk" are both the ones who came up with these statuses and the ones who will be using the system. And they aren't particularly thrilled with them either, which is partly why I am seeking other ideas. The concerns came out of a testing session, and a few additional perspectives may spark even more ideas in-house. – cori Dec 9 '10 at 16:23
  • Thanks for the suggestions, folks, I am passing the workable ones on to the team. – cori Dec 9 '10 at 17:58
  • You could add two more statuses, "beta" and "development", to that, if there would be any use for those labels. – AJMansfield May 7 '13 at 22:39
  • Active / Limited / Unavailable
  • Active / Phasing Out / Obsolete

Or of course any other combination of the above.

  • The masses (all two of them) have spoken. @JSBangs, I choose you! Seriously, though, thanks all! It was hurting my brain. – cori Dec 9 '10 at 21:43

How about Avoid for Maybe & Outdated for Dead?





...or any combination of the above.

  • See my comment to @iterationx, above. Unknown or Undetermined aren't really accurate. The others are great, thanks! – cori Dec 9 '10 at 18:00

Active / Unknown / Inactive

Active / Inactive / Obsolete

  • Unknown isn't really accurate - we know what the status is, it's just not either Active, nor exactly Inactive. The other one's good, though, thanks! – cori Dec 9 '10 at 17:59
  • Used or Promoted
  • Discouraged or Deprecated
  • Disused or Obsoleted

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