I am building a mobile app. Internet connection is often an issue.

If the user's phone does not have an Internet connection I just display a message saying 'No Internet Connection'.

I have a situation where the user's phone might have a brilliant Internet connection but for whatever reason, the packets were lost and the HTTP request has no data. (It's possible that the problem is the backend infrastructure.)

In this situation, I am not sure what to tell the user without lying to them. For example, it was not an error and it is not something that they can fix. They cannot change their wifi/mobile data because it is already on.

I suppose the only thing they could do is to try again by refreshing the page.

How can I tailor my message to the user?

Right now I just say 'Poor connection. Please refresh'.

I feel that it might make them think that the problem is their phone's Internet connection but this is not the case.

  • Since the issue lies on your end, why not make a toast with something like :"It seems we lost connection for a moment. Refresh to try again". It wouldn't be an error message per se then, just an alert. Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 9:28

2 Answers 2


Three rules I always apply to error messages:

  1. Tell the user what the problem is in their terms

    "Cannot synchronise data"

  2. If you can, give the use a little more detail about how or where the problem has occurred.

    "Our server is not responding"

  3. Tell them how to fix/deal with the problem

    "Please refresh the page and try again"

This would make your final alert something like:

    Cannot synchronise data.
    Our server is not responding.
    Please refresh the page and try again.

A strong error message achieves two things:

  • Inform the user on a high-level what went wrong
  • Add enough detail for technical users to understand, or for normal users to reference when seeking support

In your scenario, something like the following might work well:

Some important data didn't make it

Some packets of data were lost during transmission. Please refresh to try again.

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