information displayed when an unexpected condition occurs, usually on a computer or other device

learn more… | top users | synonyms

329
votes
15answers
45k views

Should error messages apologize?

We are having a discussion on our team about an error message that says "Sorry, you do not have permission to access this feature. Please contact your administrator for assistance." Is it ...
70
votes
16answers
12k views

What is best practice for designing form error messages?

I've seen quite a lot of research on form design, but so far, I haven't come across any studies on error message design best practices. The only piece of advice seems to be that each error should ...
49
votes
13answers
2k views

Personal information in messages

Is it good to add some personal information (name, username or other) in success or error messages?
39
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I highlight errors when bright red is the main color of the brand?

I'm working on a mobile website for a client whose main brand color is red. The website header and headings are all red. CTA buttons are red too. How can I effectively separate errors (mostly in form ...
39
votes
14answers
2k views

How do I get users to read error messages?

If your intended audience is nontechnical you find yourself at a severe risk that your users will plain ignore the carefully worded error messages, either staring in shock at them, calling and yelling ...
37
votes
3answers
2k views

Humor on the deathbed

Here is a rather accurate description of an extremely rare situation, displayed by a program right before seppuku: cannot handle the fatal error due to a fatal error in the fatal error handler! ...
28
votes
12answers
818 views

Blocking IE6: Deny outright or warn of issues?

We're looking at (finally) retiring IE6 support. I've always been a big fan of graceful degradation but we're really pushing ahead and trying to embrace features that we're simply not going to want ...
26
votes
8answers
6k views

What is the recommended wording for a generic error message

What would be the best wording for a generic error message? With generic error message I mean a message for an error that has occured but there are no details on what the error is or how to recover ...
23
votes
4answers
22k views

How to create a useful 500 internal server error page

I'm trying to create a useful HTTP Error 500 Internal server error page and the recommendations I have found and the live examples I have stumpled upon use a very simple layout. They basically ...
22
votes
13answers
1k views

Is it better to prevent a forbidden action or display an error/explanation message?

There are multiple examples, so I'll pick a specific one to focus the question. Let's say a user can have specific characteristics (or permissions): Admin, Virtual, External, Financial, etc. To ...
22
votes
2answers
4k views

Is the color red really appropriate for form validation errors?

It seems to be taken for granted that the color red is appropriate to highlight errors. In the case of serious system errors, I agree. However, I'm having doubts that it's the right choice for user ...
16
votes
5answers
872 views

Is giving users false assurance a good thing?

I've seen websites that show messages like - Sorry, Something went wrong, we're trying to fix this ASAP , when they really should be displaying : 404 - the page you're looking for does not exist One ...
15
votes
7answers
613 views

How the user should be informed that the file she submitted is not an image?

In a given web application, the user can upload images. Currently, when the user uploads something which is not an image, the JavaScript alert box with the message "Please Select only Image Files!!" ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Periods at the end of a sentence in alert message

How to classify what type of messages should've a fullstop/period and what should not? Because there are certain error/warning/success/info messages (be it a dialog, banner, contextual or ones in a ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Recommendations for good resources on writing good error messages

Writing good error messages which help users understand how to use the system is difficult. Often we get bug reports stating "Error message x is confusing" which usually sparks a long debate in the ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Best place for placement of error messages on a form (both generic and specific)

I'm working on a simple registration form which, when invalid data is entered, will display both a generic error (e.g: "There is an error on your form") and also specific errors (e.g: "This is not a ...
11
votes
4answers
216 views

Name or data on this error alert phenomenon?

This is just a curiosity on my part, but I'm wondering if there's a name or studies for what I'm going to describe. I've noticed in many UX scenarios, not just computer related, that when there's an ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

What will be the Best notifications and error messages?

As a UI architect, I am always wondering about the best format to display errors and notifications to users. Which of the following examples is the best format? Name is required Name cannot be ...
10
votes
6answers
704 views

Should we avoid negative words when writing error messages?

Does the use of words such as 'fail', 'wrong', 'incorrect' and 'invalid' have a sufficiently negative impact on a users frame of mind to warrant the prohibition of their inclusion in the error ...
10
votes
3answers
220 views

Should general 404 page be shown to the user if he clicks one-time link second time?

There is a Sign up function in a web application. After user signs up, an email message with confirmation link is sent to his email address. This confirmation link is obviously valid only one time. ...
10
votes
3answers
433 views

Should we be optimistic or pessimistic with UI updates on AJAX requests?

We are discussing in our team how best to handle UI updates after a user does something to cause an AJAX request to the server. Here are options we are considering: Instantly update the UI and ...
9
votes
4answers
817 views

What is the best way to display date validation errors?

I am performing date validation on several forms. This validation includes making sure a date does not fall on a weekend, does not fall on a major holiday, is at least 3 business days from the current ...
9
votes
4answers
453 views

Error message that always appears in the same place

Is it okay if error messages always appear in the same place on a website? I know the right thing to do is place errors inline, close to where the error occured. But there's hundreds of errors that ...
9
votes
3answers
307 views

When should a messagebox be used?

When I started in programming, there was a manual with a number of GUI guidelines. The input fields were color coded. For instance, a mandatory field would be yellow and an ordinary field would be ...
8
votes
12answers
548 views

Bulk actions: what to do when not all items support an action

Picture the following scenario: user selects a bunch of items, and the 'bulk actions' box appears; user selects an action that not all items support (for one reason or another). What do you do in ...
8
votes
3answers
534 views

Given CSRF protection, how can I deal with an extremely slow user?

We use a CSRF cookie on all of our forms that send data via HTTP POST. By default, the CSRF cookie out lives the session cookie by 2+ hours, in order to ensure it does not expire for users that still ...
8
votes
4answers
241 views

Is there ever a circumstance where the user should be notified of a user interface no-op?

The headline may be a bit confusing, so here's a web example (although this question is equally applicable to desktop applications): I open up the same eBay listing in 2 separate tabs of my web ...
8
votes
3answers
182 views

If there is a known error in a feature should we warn our users or just turn off the feature?

In this example, Facebook Connect (technically Facebook Login) has an open bug that prevents IE8 users from connecting. It send error messages, and it isn't clear to users that the error is with ...
8
votes
1answer
291 views

How to handle out-of-range data in a realtime plot?

Background I am working on real-time data acquisition and visualization software for a scientific measurement device. The software gathers data from the device, and plots the data in real time. Data ...
8
votes
1answer
276 views

Message Fade Timing

Sometimes one wishes to display a message for some time before removing it in some way (in my case fading). When implementing this idea, a problem arises: how long should the message remain fully ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

Handling multiple “alert” popups ?

An iPad application we are building throws an alert window for various error conditions. We are considering building a custom UI for the alerts since the default alert window is fairly annoying. My ...
7
votes
5answers
4k views

Disabling submit-button until the user has completed the form

How do you think about disabling the submit-button until the user has completed the form or the required fields? I find similar questions here on ux.se and somebody answered that the user will think ...
7
votes
4answers
954 views

Error-message to indicate invalid data has been entered?

Sorry for the subjective question.... I'm working on the micro-copy that appears on a web-form when a user submits invalid data: eg: invalid date/time. We've used inline validation and date time ...
6
votes
3answers
333 views

What errors should users never experience?

I have come up with this question for 2 reasons. Not all errors can be avoided. For example login information which might cause program to throw unhanded exception if login information is not ...
6
votes
4answers
302 views

Should I show the Bank name as a user enters a routing number?

So I'm building a payment interface, and we allow customers to pay with Checking or Savings accounts by entering their 'routing number' and 'account number'. The routing number is an identifier that's ...
6
votes
3answers
301 views

What's the best way to handle unexpected application errors?

I know, i know, we should aim to handle all exceptions, but for those moments when it's just impossible... I thought of something like this: download bmml source – Wireframes created with ...
6
votes
2answers
381 views

Benefit of custom 404 error screens on website

Are there any UX studies on whether custom 404's and the like benefit or enrich the experience of the end user? Some good examples below, I was thinking the wording might be more relevant in this ...
6
votes
4answers
354 views

Should a confirmation of the style “Your message has been deleted” be green, yellow, red?

For success messages, I usually use green, for warnings yellow and for errors red. Now in the trash folder users can delete messages permanently and restore messages. I got confused which color would ...
6
votes
2answers
452 views

What image and message use in the “Not found” page (404 error page) [closed]

I've seen the robot of Google, the creature that has Github. I think that is question of imagination and what kind of data manages your web app to design a custom image and the message to show to the ...
6
votes
7answers
290 views

How to communicate foreign key constraints in a business application?

I have a business app with various business forms where users edit data. When a user deletes a record - it shows "FK_ABC_AA.. constraint violated, etc." I want to do better than that and tell the ...
6
votes
3answers
155 views

Feature is only available on newer device

Let's say you have a software feature that is only available on a newer browser, operating system, or physical mobile device. Some examples include: A camera is required to upload photos in an app. ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Standardized (web) application error messages? [closed]

I'm in the middle of coding a bespoke CMS for a company and if there is one thing I hate it's coming up with good copy for "flash" messages (short messages that provide user feedback.) I know how ...
6
votes
4answers
224 views

Partial success message when deleting items

In one of our applications, the user can select multiple items and delete as many of them as they wish in single click. However, while processing this request there is some validation and ...
6
votes
2answers
170 views

When should the message informing the user that the password they entered is wrong go away?

This is a follow up to this question since it got closed. In a log in form, after the user enters the wrong password, when should the message saying "wrong password or user name" go away? For example ...
6
votes
2answers
190 views

Question mark in alert's caption

My doubt might seems a bit silly, but still... Should the caption of an alert/prompt popup have question mark at the end? For example, let's say that I have to issue a prompt to as for confirmation ...
6
votes
3answers
669 views

How to display login/register errors?

I have a login form and a register form on my website in this format: Username: [ ] Password: [ ] Email: [ ] There are multiple ways to approach informing the user of ...
5
votes
3answers
363 views

What to display in mobile app web view when the URL won't load

I'm creating an app whose UI is simply a web browser that loads a URL. Let's not argue about why I'm implementing it this way (I already tried that with the higher-ups). It can still do the background ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Is red text ever acceptable for use in non-error content?

I've always gone by the rule that red text should only be used in displaying error messages. Can anyone show me any usability blog/book excerpts that prove or disprove this rule? What are your own ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I best tell a user that his/her account will be locked if they enter the wrong credentials too many times?

We are going to add an additional layer of security to our product by locking user accounts for a short period of time (configurable in the product, but probably 5-10 minutes) when a user has tried to ...
5
votes
1answer
232 views

Best way to handle a system failure (not the user's fault)

In my application, we're very dependent on a service to provide some information that the user can interact with. It's possible that the service could be down, or in some invalid state to where any ...