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163

Don't write error messages blaming the user. There is no actual benefit to you from doing this. In the event that someone accidentally triggers these error messages, you damage your relationship with them. Even if you do manage to tell a single malicious user that you know they're malicious, it isn't going to make them like you any better. All you're ...


91

Mostly it’s crying wolf. Ninety-nine percent of the time the user selects the command, that’s exactly what they mean to do, so they very quickly get in the habit of smacking the OK button without more than a glance at the message. Designers don’t help the situation often providing vague, incomplete, or jargony messages, so that if users do take the time to ...


64

In situations where consequences may be truly disastrous you may copy this idea from github: Dangerous actions are marked (red bar in background), user is forced to read this box and it is verified as simply punching button is not enough. Note that using it for anything less than "nuke big collection of data" used once a year will result in furious users. ...


57

Let them know what has happened. Here are some situations with longer, clear example notifications that use proper English grammar: Only the name changed The task "foobar" has been successfully renamed to "dummy". Only the data changed The task "foobar" has been successfully updated. The name and the data changed The task "foobar" has been ...


27

Put on a song that you know, and have someone hit pause and play at random times, then have them randomly turn the volume up and down. Lowering the volume, rather than pausing the music, is less disruptive to the user. Your brain can fill in the gaps in music they are listening to if they are even somewhat familiar with it (it's why people can listen to ...


27

To the question of: How do I keep the user aware of important events without innundating them? Make sure your updates are meaningful. UAC, TOS', and EULA's are constantly skipped over because they don't provide meaningful content to their user. UAC, for many, is simply annoying - users feel that they shouldn't be warned every time they want to do ...


27

The first thing you have to find out is, if it's really a troll. Your Contact Form and Feedback Form examples have nothing to do with trolls. It's just a feedback message. The third example sounds like a hacker or script kiddie who's trying something, also no troll. So for the first two examples, choose a error message that tells what to do, but does not ...


26

A Toast is a non modal, unobtrusive window element used to display brief, auto-expiring windows of information to a user. Android OS makes relatively heavy use of them. Here's an example of a Google Chrome toast notification on Mac OS X: A list of descriptions of Toast windows on multiple platforms: Web (by Adobe) Android Microsoft


24

Pop-unders suck. The Internet has been awash with hate for them since their inception. But you know that, you need data. Research has shown that pop-under ads are almost indistinguishable from pop-up ads (pdf source), and are actually worse than pop-up ads in terms of intrusiveness in tests vs in-line ads. Emphasis mine: Pop-under ads were ...


22

There is a very simple rule that I use for myself: Error messages must not display error messages, they must display a solution message. The user does not care what is wrong and why, he simply wants the issue solved.


21

Because the simple system works. You set it when you go to bed, and if you don't want to be woken up the next day, just don't set it. More complicated ones with more features are available if you like, but the common ones do the job in the simplest most intuitive way. Good UX design.


17

I would say it should get progressively louder. There have been very few times when I have set an alarm with no purpose. However, there have been many times when I have hit the snooze button when I shouldn't have due to poor decision making skills in a semi-sleep state. Trust the alert person setting the alarm, not the half-conscious person trying to ignore ...


14

I would suggest using a standardised notification at the top of every page. That way you can show any notification you like, or nothing (most of the time). It has become widely used, and you can design it to be very noticeable if you wish. Some examples:


14

You are basically saying "How can I save the user from making bad decisions?" (In this case the bad decision of ignoring an important warning). It's worth noting that this is the same impulse that led to all of those excessive warnings in the first place! The answer is: you can't. If you try to prevent the users from freely choosing to make damaging ...


13

Jakob Nielsen’s F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content references an important tendency of users when reading websites: Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area. This initial element forms the F's top bar. You want your user to see the notification, so the top area of the page within that top bar ...


12

The terms I see the most are "message bar", "notify bar" and "notification bar". There are tons of examples with Google using the terms above. Below are a few. 'Notify Bar' plugin Top Floating message box using jQuery jQuery: How to show a message bar at the top of browser window


12

You can disable the save button when there is nothing to be saved. You can also change its label from Save to Saved.


12

You can't plant a tree in Australia while in France. What you are asking here is the same as asking: I have two rooms on two different floors; Only one room has a telephone installed; How can I make the telephone ring in the other room. In other words: A web app functionality is limited to the scope in which it is implemented (the browser). You have ...


11

You can always come up with a scenario in which that warning would go by unnoticed - think lunch break, or an urgent meeting. So I would at first try to make the existence of those sessions as transparent to my user as possible: reset the session timer as often as possible (e.g. whenever activity is detected) to minimize the occurrence of timeouts if the ...


11

Every time I have seen them, they have been poorly done and looked suspicious to me. I just assume that there is something sinister going on like key logging or something like that (not even sure if that's possible but I err on the side of caution). I often think that the reason they are behind the window is so that they can do whatever they need to do ...


11

Notify the user inside the app, but try to avoid interrupting their workflow. The Nielsen Norman Group did a study on mobile intranets that touched on this topic. They gave seven strategies that help avoid errors and improve productivity for mission-critical applications. From the article: "Recognize that, even for the most proficient practitioners, ...


11

First of all, as I stated in my comment, none of those actions are "trolling". If the are malicious they are "hacking" or "cracking" or what ever verb you wish to use there - but not trolling. Treat hackers like everyone else, give them the same information you would share with anyone. Looking at your examples: Contact Form: If the user leaves everything ...


10

While I don't believe there's any published or definitive answer, I'll try and help and provide some examples I find useful, as I think this is a very useful topic to consider, even if clear cut answers aren't availible. On showing - Displace content downward (like on SE) or hover over the top of the page, hiding some content? Displacing content (IMO) only ...


10

For what it's worth - I tried a variety of timings myself and ended up at 3200ms for a two line message of up to about 20 words. But I also place a small dot (10px diameter) to the left, which is coloured according to message type (eg red/error, blue/info, orange/warning) and which fades out over the 3200ms. When the fade gets to 100%, the message itself ...


10

Pop up notifications, like the ones used in Gmail and here on StackExchange might be a good way to get your message across. The method used on StackExchange is especially relevant because it offers information that is site specific, and often how to make ones experience on the StackExchange better. Since your message: "You were looking for XY, if ...


10

In some cases the best way to warn the user about dangerous actions is to... not warn them at all. Just do it, and notify them clearly and concisely what just happened. But then add an undo button, Gmail-style. Actually I lied, you don't want to "just do it", you want to appear to do it and delay the actual action until it's clear the user doesn't want to ...


9

I've seen a lot of exclamation marks and "i"s as effective icons. If you make the icon white on red and circular, you'll invoke an association with iOS' convention of showing numbers in red circles to indicate "new" items in apps. So you could try putting an exclamation mark in one, or an "i". Then test the two to see what kind of effect it has on your user ...


9

I believe that a session time out falls under the category of "timed responses". To meet accessibility then, the user should be given the chance to extend, or at the least, be notified it's occurring. Notifying the user about the length of the session is not a requirement, though it should be determined on a "per application basis". For instance, if it's ...


9

This study seems to address your concerns exactly: http://interruptions.net/literature/McCoy-HCIRMIS04.pdf Here's the abstract: Pop-up, pop-under, and in-line ads have been said to be intrusive, and previous findings suggest that they could have important effects on user perception and cognition. Using a 2x2 factorial design, this experimental ...


9

I would go with option three: show both as separate messages. The reason is that it makes it clear to the user that there are two distinct system states as a result of their action. One of Jakob Nielsen's 10 Usability Heuristics is visibility of system status: The system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate ...



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