An app I'm working on has an "offline mode" - as it is frequently used in environments where mobile data is unavailable. When they're connected to the internet and login to an account, that account has offline information stored to the device so it can be logged into when the have no internet access.

The users of the app are park rangers and inspectors, so I want to make sure the language used is clear as it might show whilst they're doing their job in the field and won't be able to call anyone.

The purpose of the error messsage is to show:

When their username isn't found on the device and can't connect to the server to check for new users.

This is currently what I've got:

Username not found and unable to connect to server. Confirm username is correct or ensure server is connected to check for new user accounts.

Although I'm unsure if this is clear enough to be usable (not to mention long winded).

  • How can you make sure Username is not found? since you haven't connect to the server?
    – Frank AK
    Apr 29, 2019 at 6:45
  • That's right, yes. If that username hasn't previously connected to the server, whilst in offline mode it will fail to login
    – Ben Palmer
    Apr 29, 2019 at 7:56
  • How about this "the username isn't resolved right now, please make sure you have connect to the remote server to check in."
    – Frank AK
    Apr 29, 2019 at 8:14
  • 1
    If I may improve your previous idea "the username isn't resolved right now, please make sure you have connect to the remote server first to check in when offline."
    – Core972
    Apr 29, 2019 at 8:45

1 Answer 1


I usually advise being as upfront with the user as their technical abilities allow. Presumably, they understand a few things about this app and software in general:

  1. Login is required
  2. A connection is typically necessary
  3. This app features a special mode to allow offline use.

Given that, I'd go with some kind of message that notes the issue, then explains the reasons, even if wordy.

Login Failed

First-time logins require internet access. Verify your username and internet connection.

My thinking is that the user can decide if this really is a "first-time login" and make the appropriate judgment about which issue (connection or username) is the likely culprit.

  • 1
    Thanks for the feedback. I like your assumption and clarification - the first time login is quite a good way of putting it.
    – Ben Palmer
    Apr 30, 2019 at 17:38

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