An error is a deviation from the specified or intended behavior.
Positive error messaging helps incentivize users to achieve a certain goal. Error messages should be clear and concise, conversational, and constructive.
- Tell the user what went wrong and provide a path forward
- Don’t use technical jargon
- Be constructive and help user take action
Type of errors
- Is: error message appears when the user makes a mistake
- Use when: users need to change their entry or take an action to continue
- Product use cases: input fields
- Is: the error message is caused by the system, not by the user
- Use when: system couldn't proceed with the user request, or an unexpected error occurs.
- Product use cases: 404 page, broken link
Be clear and concise
Write error messages in an informative way that clearly articulates what went wrong in a few words.
DoHelp users to understand the problem at a glance.
Don'tUse too many words.
Be optimistic & conversational
Use conversational language that is neutral or positive.
DoBe optimistic and a little nerdy.
Don'tUse alarming language or colors that shame the user.
Describe what went wrong and provide a path forward if possible.