I'm working on a Windows Phone 7 app that has a screen of some abstract items that we load from the server.

If the user clicks on an item they are navigated to a "details page".

Currently the application loads the details data after having navigated to the details page. If something bad happens during loading details we simply show a MessageBox and leave the user on the empty page (only the small top header stays visible). The user has to press the hardware back button to get back to the list.


Currently these types of issues only fall into 2 groups (from the top of my head)

  1. Temporary (Internet, Unknown Issue)
  2. Permanent (Item was removed, User banned, Service is closed :))

I'm not sure if this is quite good way of handling error situation. Is there a better solution?

  • 1
    I assume the MessageBox includes an explanation of what has happened? What should the user do in that situation? Try again later?
    – Matt Obee
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 14:07
  • Matt, yes, it contains some details about the issue. Issues can be of 2 types, transient (like internet issue) and permanent (item removed from server DB). Obviously for the second type of issues retrying won't bring any value.
    – Grigory
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 15:54
  • 1
    Can you identify which of the two cases the user is currently facing?
    – rk.
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 20:35
  • rk, sure. Some UI logic can be based on this knowledge
    – Grigory
    Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 7:00

1 Answer 1


That isn't a good way of handling it. If something bad happens, and you know that it has happened (which I assume is the case by you having a message box), you should inform them what has happened and give them options for what they can do next.

Something like:

enter image description here

Edit: With the update to the question, I would still say the same thing. The message and options may vary depending on the source of the error, but you should still give the information and offer the most reasonable options.

  • Thanks for your answer, John! I unerstand your point about giving options. I've updated my Q slightly. Taking into account these 2 types of issues, is that okay if user has no choice when some Permanent issue has occured ? For example when there is not internet he can press 'Refresh' or 'Reload' or maybe 'Try again', but when item is removed there is actually nothing to do other than to return to list (which definitely should be updated to remove this item).
    – Grigory
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 16:07

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