Any advice on how best to display success/error messages while editing fields in an inline data grid.

I've got an editable grid where records are saved (and validations are performed) as the cells are exited (or blurred). In the event of an error, an error message should be displayed, and a "saved" message should be shown in the event of a successful save.

I'm looking for something subtle that informs without overwhelming the users with feedback messages. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

1 Answer 1


There are two different situations you need to handle: Successful save, and validation/error. These are quite different so you should treat each solution independently.

On successful save

Typically, this is going to be your most common scenario, especially once the users are familiar with the data they are entering. This is your 99% scenario, so you want this functionality to be subtle.

I recommend two key points:

  • Include a short message to inform the user that data is saved automatically when "entered" (feel free to change the wording).
  • Make it very obvious what data is being edited, and what data is set/persisted.

Something like the following should achieve these aims.

enter image description here

As you can see, once the user enters the "9" and moves to the next cell (mouse click, tab, enter), it is obvious that the value is "set" and is now part of the stored data.

On validation error (or other error)

Unless the user is having trouble understanding the data they should enter, this is your 1% scenario. That means we can afford to be more intrusive with our messages, after all, we want to make sure the user notices the problem so they can fix it.

I suggest this is handled as follows:

  • Prevent the cell from losing focus while there is a validation problem (user cannot select another cell)
  • Change the colour so it stands out
  • Add an "error" icon
  • Allow the user to see more specific information by hovering/clicking the icon (via a tooltip perhaps)
  • Don't forget you need a method for the user to revert the data back to the original. This could be the "ESC" key, or even a dedicated button that appears on the error message tool tip.

Something like this:

enter image description here

Or with a more interactive tooltip message:

enter image description here

These were just some quick mock-ups I threw together. You will probably want to put a bit more care into them, particularly the error tooltip, but hopefully it's enough to get you moving in the right direction.

  • Sweet! Thanks for the thorough explanation. Definitely helps
    – Jason
    Oct 6, 2021 at 23:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.