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Te app has 3 tabs. The firs two tabs show the downloaded content and the last tab displays the sqlite database, so it doesn't depend on internet connection. Sometimes the server can't send correct data and the app can't display either tab1 or tab2 or neither of them.

What is a correct action when a parse exception occurres? That the server sent data, but my app could't handle it. Current:

enter image description here

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Tell us more about your app and error, please. How critical is the error? Why it may occur? Is there any way to avoid or fix it? –  alexeypegov Jun 7 '14 at 17:12
facepalm. The user doesn't care about the error severity. I just need to tell her that the server sent data, but my app could't handle it. –  gkiko Jun 7 '14 at 18:55
Hi @gkiko, welcome to SE.UX. We are generally very happy to help with questions related to UX here, but sometimes someone may ask you for more info or clarification. Responding with "face palm" and other such snarky remarks will not encourage those who volunteer there time here to help you. The severity of the error may be of great importance to the UX experience - as you are unclear on how to approach your issue it is more beneficial to answer such questions than to talk down to those trying to help you. –  Evil Closet Monkey Jun 8 '14 at 1:11
@alexeypegov sorry. I'll edit my answer –  gkiko Jun 8 '14 at 8:04

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It seems that in your case there is no way for user to fix the problem until server send a proper data so the better way will be to show something like this:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  1. It is better to use more generic phrasing which will be understood by most of the users

  2. You should provide a way to fix the problem or at least say what to do next. Errors with "OK" buttons should never appear in your app: there should be a clear guidance of next steps.

  3. And if user is able to use other parts of your app (like Local section) try to avoid using an alerts, it's better to integrate error message into the control itself so user will be aware why it's empty all the time

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Yes, the users can do nothing to fix the problem. Data is currently unavailable doesn't it mean that there is no internet connection? –  gkiko Jun 8 '14 at 8:25
Well, the bottom line is, if I (as a user of your application) is presented with "can't parse data [OK]" then what am I supposed to do? Just what is this data that couldn't be parsed? Bottom line, the error is not actionable. The example in this answer is actionable; I can click/tap/noserub/whatever that "update" button and see if it works better. Of course, it'd be even better if you can design both sides to your application in such a way that the server doesn't send data the application can't handle. –  Michael Kjörling Jun 8 '14 at 12:57
You could also make the error something like "invalid data was received" and the button say "try again". Or any other combination of phrasings if you want to provide additional detail (but absolutely do provide a general error message for those who don't care about the underlying details). And always strive to make error messages actionable by the user. –  Michael Kjörling Jun 8 '14 at 12:59
@gkiko it simply means there is nothing to show to the user by some reason (data is wrong, there is no internet connection, etc): "update" is the only proper action for most of such cases. You may display different messages like "no internet connection" if you feel like it will clarify the situation and will help your user to react properly. –  alexeypegov Jun 8 '14 at 18:56

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