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367

The reason I believe it is important to have an apologetic tone is to ensure you are communicating to the user that, though a mistake has been made and he is interacting with a machine or application in this case, you still respect his action and are humanizing the mistake. To quote this article from UXMatters: “You’re going to display your error ...


89

While Mervin's answer is excellent, I would go beyond saying it is "acceptable" or "preferred". I would say you "must" use an apologetic tone for one very good reason: if the user is making a mistake, it is because the user does not understand the rules or logic of the system. That is not the fault of the user! It is responsibility of the system to ...


66

In addition to the related posts that JonW, called attention to, I think the biggest question to answer is using 'My' vs. 'Your'. We've had a previous question on the subject ("'Your' vs 'My' in user interfaces"), which is a great resource, but my favorite resource on the matter is the Yahoo Design Pattern Library. Yahoo advises to use 'Your' as the ...


54

Taking a step back: Why was this feature made available (visible) to the user in the first place? If it is a feature not available to a specific user (or user class), hide it. If it is a premium feature that you'd like to upsell - do so. History export is a great way to backup your data, but is available on premium accounts only. Get in touch with ...


49

Are the listed words really synonyms? I cannot provide any references now (possibly because many software developers/producers do not consistently follow the distinction, either), but my impression is that at least abort and cancel are slightly different: Cancel sounds pretty much like a routine operation. You can cancel something before it has really ...


49

The fewer words the better, and no words at all are better than negative words. Don't say why you think there might be a problem, or even that you think there is likely to be a problem. Instead just make it easy for them to contact you in the event that they do happen to come across a problem. I quite liked an experience I had recently at surfdome where it ...


45

Does the user need to know the specifics of what's happening? Resubscribe or Subscribe would seem to be more consistent for the user as their perspective would be more with regard to whether or not they are receiving the notifications and not so much the how.


41

Answer "No". "Successfully" can be removed: Joel Spolsky covered this issue very well here: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/uibook/chapters/fog0000000062.html The basic rule of thumb is that: "In fact, users don't read anything. This may sound a little harsh, but you'll see, when you do usability tests, that there are quite a few users who simply do ...


40

If it's clear, say it in the least number of words possible. If there is no confusion, then there is no problem. "Import image" - clear. "Create app" - clear. "Add description" - clear. For further reading, I suggest the Android Writing Style.


39

The words have subtly different meanings. Stop means to prevent something from continuing, but not necessarily permanently. E.g. stop video playback. Terminate means to stop permanently. E.g. terminate process. Abort means to terminate before completion. E.g. abort file transfer. Cancel means to make something void. E.g. cancel subscription.


35

A good error message should: Let you know what the problem is. Make you feel like there is something that you can do about it. Speak like a human, and be a consistent extension of the personality of the rest of the application. For generic error messages, you can't do much about the first point, but you can do something about the other two. Do something ...


34

I was having a discussion with my housemate who is a data analyst by trade, and the conclusion that we came to is that there are two sensible options here, depending on the amount of work you personally want to do (we're assuming here that the collection of gender data is actually useful to you, rather than simply of interest in which case it may be better ...


29

I don't find apologies very humanizing from a computer, any more than an automated hold system for a phone network makes me feel like my call is important by saying, "Your call is very important to us! Please stay on the line for the next available representative." I don't think the apologies are the main issue here. Far more important is that they are ...


29

The most appropriate is NO According to one of the 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design by Nielsen: The system should speak the users' language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order. When you tell a ...


27

Is there room for no weight change This is then easy to understand, and is clear that it's not any gain either. Like the answer, I think you'd more than likely say something like "my weight hasn't changed since last week" On a similar note, a 2% loss doesn't mean much to most, so would it be better to say 6lbs weight loss (2%)


24

Yes, error messages should apologize when it's plausible to do so. People will ascribe human emotions to computers, so the computers should be polite, particularly to users who expect people to be polite. For example, websites designed for the elderly would benefit from very polite messages both to show that the site and not the user is at fault to ...


23

Like everything, this will depend on context. However, "Abort" is one of those 'computer words' that isn't normally used by people in everyday conversation, along with things like "terminate" and "submit". It's one of the reasons that in the past, people had to take computer literacy courses in order to understand technology. Thankfully, User Experience and ...


22

Conventions and the conscious breaking of The vast majority of people don't have their mouse buttons swapped. Even people who use the mouse with their left hand, often keep the buttons as they would normally be (myself is an example for this). Thus, people who swap these buttons can be considered in UX as complementary personas (people with special ...


22

As noted on the Android Design Principles Writing Style page: Friendly Use contractions. Talk directly to the reader. Use “you” to refer to the reader. Keep your tone casual and conversational, but avoid slang. By saying 'Oops' - in English, a commonly accepted way of acknowledging that an unexpected event has happened, in a non-frightening way - we are ...


22

I wouldn't put pronunciation guide on the company's landing page because it's distracting. Landing pages should focus user's attention on the main content. Instead of a description of how to pronounce the company name, perhaps a description of the site would be much better. Put pronunciation details in the About Us section or footer of the site if people ...


19

My favourite method is the one employed by Stack Exchange, Google, Flickr, and many other large sites with a strong focus on UX: use their username / real name combination as a clickable link. This has the dual benefit of hinting to the user if they are logged in as someone else, ans is more personal than the [pronoun] Account approach. Combinations of ...


17

Not first option - It emphasizes free too much and users tend to think 'Hey - I've got something for free' and be happy with that to the point of making a point of not wanting to pay anything - however good the paid one is. Free can sound like it's a trial or severely limited - like 3 free levels in a game where the paid version has 100. Anyway - it might ...


17

Be natural, this can be annoying if you're apologizing too often, write your message in plain language—like a human talking to another human. If error is caused by you (your app, your server e.t.c.) add apology, otherwise leave just statement of fact and how to resolve the issue. For example: "Sorry, we couldn't send your message because of [some] ...


17

I believe that's a preference thing. The main thing is to be consistent with what you decide. It could vary on what section of the app you are talking about too. For example, your buttons and titles might be Title Case capitalized, while your links might be lowercase. Again, just be consistent within the sections that you are standardizing.


17

One of the clearest examples of those I've seen went something like this: That's it, you've been unsubscribed! Didn't mean to unsubscribe? <Subscribe again>!


16

There is another issue with the word "successful" that I experienced in our SaaS. We provide a function in our application, where you can send stuff via email. However, the only thing we do is to send the email. The message used to be "Email successfully sent." User feedback then made us realize that they got the message more or less wrong as they believed ...


16

If done correctly it could be advantageous from a marketing perspective. As an example, early (admittedly TV) advertisements for Hyundai used the slogan: All day, every day, Hyundai as a way of re-enforcing the pronunciation of the brand name. This was important as if 3 people had 3 different ways of pronouncing it, it'd be unlikely that any would ...


15

'Sign up' is shorter and, I agree with Dan, sounds easier than 'Create an account'. And indeed A/B testing can help to find the best solution in the context of your site. One important thing to mention: I observed people in usability test being confused by the wording 'Sign up' and 'Sign in' next to each other. They're just too close and too easy to mix up. ...


15

My recommendation is: leave the gender out of the form if you can. Only collect the user data you really need, and when you need it (Credit card data on payment, address on checkout and the like.). But if you have to add something, you can do it like when creating a new Live-ID at Microsoft. They added "Not Specified" which work well if you don't want to ...


15

If you're adding more items into a collection of items, then the term to go with is Add. If the action is to create something totally new that isn't part of a clear collection, then I'd go with New. Since you have tables where you can add data (a row collection where you add rows), I would use Add for inserting new rows of data. It's quite common in ...



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