Currently, I'm using amber alert messages for system errors, for a web application I'm designing, however, the PM has come back asking if red alerts would be more suitable for these system errors.

My assumption is that red error alerts are used if immediate action is required from the user for example. An amber alert seems more suitable for a system error but I would like to clarify if this is correct.


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    In general, I see red used only for errors that should be considered fatal - that is, stop a process. For warnings which do not stop a process but are important to alert the operator to, yellow/amber seems to be the preferred color. Feb 24, 2022 at 14:35
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    You might get more useful responses if you could provide examples and context. Feb 24, 2022 at 14:36
  • I think the main problem is here that you are trying to design something based on your/someone else's opinion and not based on data / evidence. In cases like this one, minimum a best practice research should be necessary, followed by an A/B or usability test to have a proven evidence. We do not assume. We design based on facts, data, and evidence. I think you would be calmer and more confident if you could show him tangible evidence. Feb 24, 2022 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


When you use colours in your design system (or style guide), it is important to take into account the impact of designating a colour for a specific purpose as it will most definitely have flow on effects. Not only will you create an association for the user when the same colour is used in other contexts, it will also impact on the meaning of other colours used for related purposes.

So the issue is not whether the colour can be used or not, but if the use of this colour then has impact on the rest of the visual language of the user interface.

From the question it is hard to determine whether the issue comes from personal preferences or subject views about the meaning of the colours, but in any case you should do a careful analysis of how it will impact the existing design and if it is going to impact any future changes you make to the alert and notification design patterns and components.

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