My question is very simple:

Should an error message that is shown in javascript:confirm be like this: "This invoice does not have taxes. Click OK to continue and Cancel to add them"

or like this? "This invoice does not have taxes. Do you want to continue?"

My preference and own best practice is to NOT reference any UI element in the messages so we can reuse this message in other places. And if the UI changes for some reason, we can still use the message.

What do you think?


Instead of "OK" and "Cancel", use a verb on the button itself, so users who skim the text of the prompt don't get any surprises. See this question.

What are they doing with those invoices? Are they sending them? If so, you could have:

"Warning: This invoice does not have taxes." with the buttons: "Add Taxes" and "Send Without Taxes".

  • Indeed, but I can only use javascript confirm for now. In that case what would you do? – Kat Lim Ruiz May 21 '14 at 22:14
  • Tell them what will happen if they proceed. "No taxes here. A default charge of $20.00 will be applied." Then it becomes an issue of "That's OK" and "Oh, no, I don't what that.. Cancel!" – EkriirkE May 22 '14 at 6:32

Gmail has a good example of how to handle this case. If you try to send an email mentioning an attachment without attaching a file, it brings up a dialog:

Did you mean to attach files?

You wrote "Attached is" in your message, but there are no files attached.  Send anyway?

The "OK" button sends the email, and "Cancel" lets them go back and correct their mistake.

You can do something similar, where their choice is to continue without taxes, or cancel their selected action, which leaves them free to add taxes, but doesn't do it for them.

  • thanks for the answer, but my question is only whether is it good to say "Click OK to send anyway"? or as your example simply "Send anyway?". I would say the latter. – Kat Lim Ruiz May 21 '14 at 22:39
  • You asked if the dialog box should say something like "This invoice does not have taxes. Click OK to continue and Cancel to add them". My answer is basically saying no; instead just have "OK" continue, and "Cancel" should cancel (ie do nothing). – Martin May 21 '14 at 22:43

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