Difference between revisions of "Projects/Usability/HIG/Messages"

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* ''Polite, non-terrifying and non-blaming''. Avoid wording that terrifies the user ("fatal", "illegal"), blames him for his behavior, and be polite.
 
* ''Polite, non-terrifying and non-blaming''. Avoid wording that terrifies the user ("fatal", "illegal"), blames him for his behavior, and be polite.
  
 
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=== Confirmation Button Labels ===
'''Confirmation Button Labels'''
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* To close a warning or error message that does not require further user interaction, provide a Close button. '''Do not use an OK button.''' Users may get confused if they are asked to confirm an error.
 
* To close a warning or error message that does not require further user interaction, provide a Close button. '''Do not use an OK button.''' Users may get confused if they are asked to confirm an error.
 
* Use buttons which match the type of statement or question made in the warning or error message.  For example, do no ask a Yes/No question but then provide OK/Cancel buttons.
 
* Use buttons which match the type of statement or question made in the warning or error message.  For example, do no ask a Yes/No question but then provide OK/Cancel buttons.
 
* When the user must choose between two actions to continue, use descriptive button labels instead of standard Yes/No or OK/Cancel buttons. For example, if the user must choose to continue or stop an action, provide the buttons "Continue" and "Cancel".
 
* When the user must choose between two actions to continue, use descriptive button labels instead of standard Yes/No or OK/Cancel buttons. For example, if the user must choose to continue or stop an action, provide the buttons "Continue" and "Cancel".
  
 
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=== Error Details ===
'''Error Details'''
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* Provide only a short error message and complement it by a Details button that provides more a detailed explanation in the same error dialog.
 
* Provide only a short error message and complement it by a Details button that provides more a detailed explanation in the same error dialog.
 
* If it makes sense for this kind of error, link from the error dialog to the corresponding page in the help system. Provide a Help button then.
 
* If it makes sense for this kind of error, link from the error dialog to the corresponding page in the help system. Provide a Help button then.
  
 
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=== Dialog vs. Info Panel ===
'''Dialog vs. Info Panel'''
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* Use dialogs for critical error messages, and when you need to make sure that the user sees the message.
 
* Use dialogs for critical error messages, and when you need to make sure that the user sees the message.
 
*  Use info panels for non-critical messages which do not require any further user interaction (typically dialogs with a single "OK" or "Close" button).
 
*  Use info panels for non-critical messages which do not require any further user interaction (typically dialogs with a single "OK" or "Close" button).

Revision as of 16:41, 1 August 2008

Warning and error messages appear when a problem or error has occurred.

Warning and error messages should be:

  • Understandable. Phrase your messages clearly, in non-technical terms and avoid obscure error codes.
  • Specific instead of general. If the message is reporting a problem concerning a specific object or application, use the object or application name when referring to it.
  • Informative and constructive. Tell the user the reason for a problem and help on how to solve the problem.
  • Polite, non-terrifying and non-blaming. Avoid wording that terrifies the user ("fatal", "illegal"), blames him for his behavior, and be polite.

Confirmation Button Labels

  • To close a warning or error message that does not require further user interaction, provide a Close button. Do not use an OK button. Users may get confused if they are asked to confirm an error.
  • Use buttons which match the type of statement or question made in the warning or error message. For example, do no ask a Yes/No question but then provide OK/Cancel buttons.
  • When the user must choose between two actions to continue, use descriptive button labels instead of standard Yes/No or OK/Cancel buttons. For example, if the user must choose to continue or stop an action, provide the buttons "Continue" and "Cancel".

Error Details

  • Provide only a short error message and complement it by a Details button that provides more a detailed explanation in the same error dialog.
  • If it makes sense for this kind of error, link from the error dialog to the corresponding page in the help system. Provide a Help button then.

Dialog vs. Info Panel

  • Use dialogs for critical error messages, and when you need to make sure that the user sees the message.
  • Use info panels for non-critical messages which do not require any further user interaction (typically dialogs with a single "OK" or "Close" button).

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