I have a message box that has a confirmation to identity a crew or to skip the step. I have always put my titles of messages boxes as a short description as to what is going on. For instance, my title says "Identify Crew?"

Another co-worker believes that the title should say the application name.

Is there a standard? Or is one better than the other?


  • Would your users understand the term crew ? – Mervin Mar 6 '12 at 21:25
  • Are you talking about a modal dialog box or a full window in which an app is running? It would be awesome if you could do some screenshots or edit your question to use the Balsamic plugin to show us an example (both dialog boxes and windows are options to use). – jcmeloni Mar 6 '12 at 21:45
  • 1
    Um, that would be Balsamiq, of course...unless there's some extra special vinegary mockups you'd like to show us! – jcmeloni Mar 6 '12 at 22:11

This has been discussed before. See What properly goes into the "caption" of a message box?.

My answer:

Follow the User Experience Guidelines for your platform. In this case: Windows, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa511267.aspx, under the section named "Title".


Use the title to identify the command or feature from which the error originated. Exceptions:

  • If an error is displayed by many different commands, consider using the program name instead.
  • If that title would be redundant or confusing with the main instruction, use the program name instead.

Don't use the title to explain or summarize the problem—that's the purpose of the main instruction.

Ps.: and this is specific for your question: Don't use things like a period, a quesion mark, exclamation mark etc in a title.


Shorter titles are better because users will get done reading them faster and move on to the content. But you should ensure that the titles are understandable. If possible check if users understand the short titles in a usability test.

Alternatively conduct a short study of the user's jargon and come up with acceptable titles that are not too long.


use shorter titles or use an icon to explain, eg, with ! symbol, we understand that an incorrect entry has been passed, etc

Prefer using a 32x32 icon. BTW, is it something other than an HTML web form?

  • yes this is a windows application message. – Laura Mar 6 '12 at 21:12
  • when you say yes, do you suggest HTML allowed, or not? – yuvrajm Mar 6 '12 at 21:14
  • By yes I meant this is something other than an HTML web form it is a windows form for an application, which is not web based at all. – Laura Mar 6 '12 at 21:19
  • Oops, sorry, I understood it wrongly, but finally, the question is, are you able to apply the image? – yuvrajm Mar 6 '12 at 21:45
  • @yuvrajm: The question asked about the window title bar not the content of the error message. – dnbrv Mar 7 '12 at 1:34

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