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I'm having a bit of trouble with wording on a title for a feature I'm building for an app. I have 3 options which seems correct at first view, but I really don't think I'm getting the correct wording for what I want.

Context

As you can see, it's very simple, just a connection detected. This connection is an external device, and users can have more than 1 device connected to the app, however this won't be the norm and in general they'll have only one (just in case it helps to an answer)

Also, the ability to connect a device is a desired thing for users, and there are emotional, usability and practical rewards to this. HOWEVER, there might be users with no connected devices, so I don't want to belittle them or their experience. This is a very important concern.

The body has the following text and some additional options:

"your account has [X] device(s) connected"

Finally, this is an informative message that shows at any time, not just when the connect action is performed.

What I have so far is this, but absolutely open to suggestions:

enter image description here

what I see in these 3 options:

  1. Sounds to me like a result of an immediate action

  2. Sounds a bit too generic (what device?)

  3. While this is the one I like the most, sounds a bit cold

Second issue

On top of all this, and related to the above, I have to show a different message to users who have no connected devices. What I have so far, and this really could use some help, because they sound too negative:

  1. No devices connected
  2. No devices found
  3. You have no devices connected

Questions

  1. Which version seems more appropriate for connected devices?
  2. How can I improve message for users with no connected devices?
  • 1
    It doesn't need an exclamation mark. – bjb568 Aug 16 '15 at 3:12
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You already have the phrases that will work, I believe. And a few that won't, as you've no doubt recognised.

When a device gets connected

The first choice assumes that connection is always a result of a direct user action, so not merely because someone walked into Bluetooth range, for example. Also, the phrase can be ambiguous. "You have connected" is a passive verb form, best to avoid passive structures. I realise that it's actually "You have" and "connected devices" but a message that has two meanings—however similar—is unnecessary, and more challenging for people who are learning English.

The second choice allows you to confirm the quantity, which is one of your goals. You're showing the status and count elsewhere in the UI. You can be consistent in the notification message.

Change notification and status message

  • You have a connected device.
  • You have 3 connected devices.

The third choice is quite passive. It's like your system isn't interested in the user. In addition, it takes the focus off the core idea, connection, and introduces some doubt: there could be connected devices that somehow haven't been found?

When no devices are connected

As for when there are no devices connected, Microsoft guidelines for messages recommend not blaming the user. That rules out the use of "You" in "You have no devices connected."

While "found" works in the negative case, it isn't idea in the positive case, as mentioned above. And since you want to use consistent language, that rules out "found."

No devices connected works.

Something that might improve the negative message is providing some motivation. You're concerned about belittling the user, so do this carefully.

"No device connected. You can't make trades right now."

"No devices connected. If you're feeling lonely, connect a device."

Ease up on the excitement … !

Finding a device is a normal occurrence. So is not finding a device, I assume.

No exclamation mark

There's no need to use an exclamation mark. It suggests a level of excitement that's unwarranted, which can seem plastic or artificial.

Icons

Just a thought: Can you do anything with icons, especially when there's only one device connected, or to reinforce the motivation?

Icon variations

The above icons are half-baked examples to get you thinking about it.

This seems like an intriguing project. Can you share a few more details, for the sake of interest?

  • great answer as usual, and you're correct on the icons part, I was planning to change them for something more direct (the one I used for this example is Material Design's one), including a color aid (green for good, a grayed out blue for merely informative purposes). Good catch on the "excitement" part, I couldn't see why to get so excited about this, but this was a request by the project manager, so kind of compromise with stakeholders – Devin Aug 15 '15 at 21:32
  • about your last question, sadly no. This is as far as I can get and I have changed some details as I usually do to preserve the client's identity, all I can say is that the connected device/s are measuring devices – Devin Aug 15 '15 at 21:37
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As you said the first option sounds like an immediate response as soon as the connection is established.

The only problem I have with the rest of the choices is they are singular by nature. Although you said users wouldn't often connect multiple devices they will sometimes and when they do simply stating "Connected device found" will lead them to ask "Which device?" "Where are the others?"

For that reason I would say use the same phrasing as in the body text.

"your account has [X] device(s) connected"

"your account has 0 devices connected"

"your account has 1 device connected"

"your account has 2 devices connected"

Or since you know most of your users will only have 0-1 devices you can account for those cases.

"your account has no devices connected"

"your account has a device connected"

But the key here is to keep the phrasing consistent and informative for all of the users not just the most common ones.

  • While not mentioning it specifically, the multiple devices scenario is contemplated, but I was more interested in the title for this feature. Good call on consistency and +1 for you! – Devin Aug 15 '15 at 21:34
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For your second issue, I'd make it a button that states "click here to connect your first device", and that button then leads to the page where the user can connect their devices. This way, you subtly encourage their user to connect a device while not being so negative.

If you want, you can make a corner or the side of that button have a different function to hide the button, in case the user genuinely has no interest to connect devices.

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