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

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453
votes
16answers
59k 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 ...
129
votes
18answers
49k 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 ...
64
votes
7answers
12k views

Should I show the troll that I know he's trolling?

I'm building an online store that has many features and functions. Whenever a user interacts with the site a notification is shown. These notifications should give the user a response to his action ...
57
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?
52
votes
5answers
7k views

Why is blue used as a background color to indicate no signal?

To my knowledge most projectors' "No Signal" screen uses a blue background: This might also apply to the legendary Blue Screen of Death So why is blue the color of choice for such error messages?...
49
votes
9answers
9k views

What color for error messages for a form with a red background?

I have a big website with some forms. There are four background-colours for the form components. One of them is pink/red. Here the image and the error message: I can't change the form background-...
48
votes
14answers
3k 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 ...
43
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 ...
41
votes
11answers
11k views

Using funny error messages in Finance

Currently I'm working on a branch banking application which is going to be used for all banking transactions such as Money deposit, EFT but also Campaign Management etc. (Some user roles are directly ...
40
votes
4answers
53k 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 include:...
37
votes
10answers
6k views

Is it OK to autocorrect users when they have mistyped parts of their email address?

When logging in, users might mistype parts of their email address. For example, name@company.con instead of .com, Yaho instead of yahoo, etc. The main rationale is that by autocorrecting user input ...
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! ...
34
votes
9answers
32k 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 ...
32
votes
2answers
10k 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 ...
29
votes
12answers
933 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 ...
25
votes
13answers
2k 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 ...
25
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

When is an exception message too big?

I'm testing a web app that has a cumbersome exception message for attempting to add non-eligible invoices to a payment system, see the image below. The developer sees no issue with this but its ...
19
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
9k views

Recommendations for good resources on writing good error messages [closed]

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 ...
18
votes
7answers
3k views

Is it worth having custom 404 pages for different features of a web app?

We've seen a lot of beautiful custom error pages for server errors such as 404 and 503, but it seems like each site or app has just has one for whatever page you cannot reach. Is it in anyway ...
16
votes
8answers
3k views

Should I provide errors when client-side validation was bypassed?

I have a form. My JS confirms the field values are valid before the form can be submitted. If invalid, it is highlighted red, focused, and given a tooltip with the reason. Moreover, the Javascript ...
15
votes
7answers
979 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
3k 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 add/...
14
votes
7answers
302 views

Should an 'error message' be shown before or after user interaction?

In a web application we have functionality that enables users to reschedule an appointment that they have previously booked, by clicking on a call to action/link on their summary page. However, there ...
13
votes
8answers
3k views

Why are error codes on websites shown as “404 Not Found” [duplicate]

Most error pages on websites display http status codes in messages. Eg - "404 Not Found" Is that status code really helpful for a user? A previous question asked Are HTTP error codes user-friendly?...
13
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

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

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 ...
12
votes
4answers
242 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I manage form validation for either/or fields

I have a form in which there the user is required to enter either a postal code OR select a city in order to do a search. If they fail to enter either and submit the form, currently the form ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Handling plurals in notification messages

We are migrating from an old system to a new HTML5 web based system. The earlier system had the error messages like "The message(s) was deleted successfully." "Are you sure you want to delete ...
10
votes
3answers
325 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
357 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...
9
votes
12answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
2k 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
543 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
5answers
8k views

Where is the best place to show validation/error messages in a form? [duplicate]

Where is the best place to show validation/error messages in a form? Beside a field? underneath a field? Reserve an area on the top/bottom of the page, and show any error/successful message there?
9
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
466 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
4answers
5k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Form validation - When should error messages be triggered?

I'm working on a registration form with real-time inline validation. I'm wondering when we should trigger error messages: before, when the field is in focus and until the user has entered a valid ...
8
votes
4answers
260 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
200 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
4answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
290 views

“An unexpected error occured”

I know this is more language problem, but in many applications there is a text "unexpected error occurred". How do you get the sense (in context of UX) of this information? It makes me feel that the ...
8
votes
1answer
499 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 ...