So I have been reading about Error messages guidelines and read almost every post on here about error messages. One main point I agree 100% with is that an error message should mostly contain two parts:
(1) Advice users on the solution
(2) Point out the issue.
Now, how should be the structure of the message be? Point out the issue, then solution or vice versa? Does it make any difference?
Check out this simple example that I am working on now:
Two suggestions are:
Please try another name, this name is already taken
This name is already taken, please try another name
So should we tell the user what to do first because there is an issue? Or tell users about the issue then what to do about it?
Any idea if one is superior to the other? If one sounds less negative than the other? Or no difference going with either one?
1- It is an error message. Hence, it should explicitly state the error, and then improve it by providing a solution or alternative options (There is an issue, here is what to do).
e.g. "This name is already taken, please try another name"
2- Start by providing the solution, then explicitly state the error is a more inviting and less aggressive form of an error message.
e.g. "Please try another name, this name is already taken"
3- Providing the solution that implicitly tells the error is also less aggressive and more inviting. It is somehow like if you say to a user (do this, it is okay there was an issue).
e.g. "Please enter a name that is not already taken"
I am wondering if different forms / arguments could suit different applications (e.g. entertainment applications vs financial applications)?