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Bad Error Message Design

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Lazy programmers. - Charlie Gibbs" The funniest error message that I ever heard about was vanishingly rare, having been created in the Caltech computer center in the early to mid 70's. I can't remember which one it was but I believe there was an OS that produced ALL of its error messages in a Japanese style of short poetry. Incorrect: Well, which is it? Norman By that logic, fixing or preventing errors isn’t a matter of simplifying our designs, it’s making them better. Check This Out

By designing your error handling experience to have these characteristics, you can keep your program's error messages out of the Error Message Hall of Shame. Now the user is stuck and either has to deduce the problem or get technical support. Post navigation ← I suppose it's not terribly surprising that WordPress are bad at security You are not your labels → 8 thoughts on “A case study in bad error messages” As for the rest of the errors of the world, I’ll leave that up to someone else.

Bad Error Message Examples

Someone enters Javascript into a simple text field to insert a malicious script. Is this the right user interface? Don't waste time trying to make errors like this comprehensible to users because their only audience is the programmers. However, you can put a single full file path or URL in the main instruction if the error message doesn't otherwise need a supplemental instruction.

Personally I am a big fan of the error message I use at work when they try to access and unapproved website. Bad design complicates things unnecessarily and confuses us. For the non-techys, when an error occurs usually the program will check to see what type of error it was to better inform the user (ex. Bad Gateway Error Message Avoid overcommunicating Generally, users don't read, they scan.

Um... Troubleshooting (and how to avoid it) Troubleshooting results when a problem with several different causes is reported with a single error message. If you do only eight things Design your program for error handling. Don't use command buttons or progressive disclosure for this purpose.

Design did! Error Message Bad Pool Header Suddenly there was a message about the printer (right across from my desk) being on fire. The program removal was successful from the user's point of view. For example: This might mean disallowing a user from completing an order form unless they have entered a verified mailing address.

  1. Sure, simplicity is always a welcomed strategy if you are dealing with a problem or design that is overly complicated, but we need to stop talking about it as if it
  2. The user can't proceed and there is no feedback to determine the problem.
  3. Text General Remove redundant text.
  4. Jinxos Says: September 24th, 2008 at 2:09 pm My favourite: "Error: Catastrophic Failure" rarely appearing in Windows anymore, but popular with NT Gary Says: September 24th, 2008 at 2:20 pm I'm
  5. Make sure users know how to fix said errors.
  6. You can leave the subject implicit if it is your program or the user.

Examples Of Poor Error Messages

Fix: Make it so only raw text can be used in the text field. Also, I am completely enamoured with the infrequent and puzzling windows dialog box "ERROR The previous operation succeeded - OK" Dale Williams Says: September 24th, 2008 at 12:39 pm The IBM Bad Error Message Examples In this example, an in-place error is used for an error found by clicking the commit button. Bad Image Error Message DeleteCancelMake your likes visible on Facebook?

This was more "friendly" to the user than all of those cryptic words like "syntax". his comment is here wyvernlord Says: September 24th, 2008 at 12:19 pm A app used in the banking industry gave a nice one to us earlier this year. To do that, you can write some microcopy. Report | Detail | OK When you clicked on Detail you got: Error Code : 0 Error Information : Success! Bad Image Error Message Windows 7

Polymorphism is a thing programmers actually use, and python is an especially dynamic language. The JCL wanted a specific spelling, which was limited to 6 characters since a tape VolumeSerial number was that long (VOLSER). Which I figured was comment enough. ["Lifting A Dreamer" © YiYing Lu] Newsletter Get the latest Co.Design stories delivered to your inbox daily. http://onlinetvsoftware.net/error-message/best-form-error-design.php Fix: Auto-save the document or field for them...

But what is this "third layer" that I’m talking about? Error Message Bad Pool Caller This layer represents the "helper" elements within your site. Taking the same approach to unplanned downtime, though, just makes the whole operation look like amateur hour — which, presumably, is not how David Karp wants his up-and-coming platform to appear.

Include the reason for the problem if you can do so concisely.

david Post authorJuly 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm Do you, or do you not, have the _line_ in the source that causes the exception to be thrown? Both? Rotaluclac Tim Says: September 24th, 2008 at 5:08 pm The joys of learning to progam (and now teaching it): COBOL (data error - 15 years since I programmed in COBOL as Bad Request 400 Error Message An application that couldn’t start?

Error Type 1: Slips First stop on the error train, Slips. You can change this under Settings & Account at any time. The Firesign Theatre album, "I Think We're All Bozo's on This Bus" was conceived in the Caltech Computing Center, and most, if not all of the ideas came from the PDP-10 http://onlinetvsoftware.net/error-message/bad-error-message.php Unnecessarily harsh error messages Incorrect: The program's inability to find an object hardly sounds catastrophic.

For example, use controls that are constrained to valid values instead of using unconstrained controls that may require error messages. MrVeedle Says: September 24th, 2008 at 3:26 pm I'm surprised no one mentioned the dreaded IBM PC-XT error 1701: HDD Controller Failure. How do you find the problem? Search Engine Watch explained how to set up custom events in order to track form errors: “Employ a series of custom events on your form with each event representing a field

They tried over and over to get the WIN98 machine to crash and it wouldn't richard Says: September 24th, 2008 at 5:34 pm If any fictional messages are going to be While the active voice is generally preferred, use the passive voice when the user is the subject and might feel blamed for the error if the active voice were used. Incorrect: Correct: In the incorrect example, the terms "catastrophic" and "failure" are unnecessary. Though the sample was small, they found the following results with the inline version: a 22% increase in success rates, a 22% decrease in errors made, a 31% increase in satisfaction