Re: Discuss-interactiondesigners.com Digest, Vol 4, Issue 21

20 Jan 2004 - 12:18am
491 reads
rk
2004

Hi,

What we did in one of our assignments (it was a browser based application),
which required users to input quite a bit of data was that we pulled out all
the fields that required user intervention (could be incorrect or missing
info) and presented it in a dialog box. So all users needed to do is address
this dialog box and hence correct the errors. How it helped was that we did
not have to figure out a way to attract the users' atttention to the
specific fields marked in red or whatever color.

Especially with busy interfaces and in applications that require data entry,
I think this is a neat way to address errors.

Regards,
-rk
ramesh krishnan
MphasiS Usability Engineering Team

----- Original Message -----
From:
<discuss-interactiondesigners.com-request at lists.interactiondesigners.com>
To: <discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com>
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2004 1:30 AM
Subject: Discuss-interactiondesigners.com Digest, Vol 4, Issue 21

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> Today's Topics:
>
> 1. RE: Error messaging best practices (Julie Stanford)
> 2. RE: Re: Error messaging best practices (FelcanSmith, Mark)
> 3. Re: Error messaging best practices (Todd R.Warfel)
> 4. RE: Error messaging best practices (Reimann, Robert)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 00:40:05 -0800
> From: "Julie Stanford" <julie at slicedbreaddesign.com>
> Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Error messaging best practices
> To: <discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com>
> Message-ID: <011701c3de67$d66d9750$0301000a at JULIES>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>
> We've found an effective way of error messaging on the web through
> testing and many years of experience which we tend to use on all of our
> web design projects that involve forms. It has several parts:
>
> 1) Mark all the fields that have an error in a color (like bold red)
>
> 2) At the top of the page, put an eyecatching icon indicating an error
> (preferably something friendly) and intro text such as "Some information
> below is missing or incorrect. Please look at the item(s) marked in red
> and enter the requested information."
>
> 3) Follow the intro message described in point 2 above with a bulleted
> list of the fields that have a problem and a simple explanation of the
> problem. For example:
>
> Some information below is missing or incorrect. Please look at the
> item(s) marked in red and enter the requested information.
> - Resource: Enter a resource name that has not previously been used. The
> resource name you entered is already used by another resource.
> - Resource type: Select a resource type.
>
>
> - Julie Stanford
> ________________________________________________________________________
> __
>
> Julie Stanford
> Principal
> julie at slicedbreaddesign.com
> www.slicedbreaddesign.com <http://www.slicedbreaddesign.com/>
> <http://www.slicedbreaddesign.com/>
> phone: 650-625-1925
> mobile: 650-799-7225
> fax: 240-525-1315
>
>
>
>
>
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>
> Message: 2
> Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 10:13:56 -0600
> From: "FelcanSmith, Mark" <mfelc at allstate.com>
> Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Re: Error messaging best practices
> To: "Jeff Howard" <jeff at howardesign.com>,
> <discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com>
> Message-ID:
>
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>
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>
> To Jeff's point about offering a solution, I couldn't agree more. Too
> often I've seen error message implementation only go half way. Which is
> to say it's one thing to point out the error, but it's not a solution.
> The message needs to inform the user, in polite manner, with a solution
> on how to fix the problem and move on. I've heard, and try to use when
> applicable, the term *user assist messages*. This conveys to those
> involved, e.g. developers, that we are trying to do more for the user
> than just point out the fact that an error occurred.
>
> One other thing I'd like to mention is the consistency of the language.
> A controlled vocabulary, a common voice to how this information is
> conveyed to the user will be a direct reflection on the overall
> experience.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
> ers.com]On Behalf Of Jeff Howard
> Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2004 3:42 PM
> To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: [ID Discuss] Re: Error messaging best practices
>
>
> Ryan,
>
> 37signals' Design Not Found archives might be helpful here. Lots of good
> (and bad) contingency design examples.
> http://www.37signals.com/dnf/snapshots/
>
> For my part, I think delivery depends on the nature of the error
> messages. If you're only showing one error that's easy to remember, find
> and correct, then a simple dialog box is sometimes enough. Multiple
> errors though (like blank required fields) are more elegantly handled by
> annotations on page. Here's an example that I worked up a few years ago.
> http://www.howardesign.com/sites/error/
>
> As to content, avoid programmer-speak. Credit card authorization codes
> and web server error codes aren't helpful. Try to anticipate the most
> common errors, and write concise messages that offer a solution when
> possible.
>
> // jeff
>
>
>
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Message: 1
> > Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 08:16:18 -0800 (PST)
> > From: Ryan Powell <ryansfus at yahoo.com>
> > Subject: [ID Discuss] Error messaging best practices
> > To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> > Message-ID: <20040116161618.27376.qmail at web14309.mail.yahoo.com>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> >
> > I'm looking for info on best practices / guidelines for error
> messaging
> > (for forms on the web)- both the content of the message and the way
> > errors are brought to the user's attention.
> >
> > Does anyone know of any good sources? Or maybe just a site that has an
> > interesting solution?
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Ryan Powell
> > HSBC
> > Chicago, IL
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Interaction Design Discussion List
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> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 11:35:07 -0500
> From: Todd R.Warfel <lists at mk27.com>
> Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Error messaging best practices
> To: julie at slicedbreaddesign.com
> Cc: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> Message-ID: <70D0FF73-4A9D-11D8-887B-000A95DF22C2 at mk27.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>
> This sounds pretty good. The only thing I'd suggest is not to say
> "marked in red" as that doesn't pass the colour blind test. 508 is
> something we also have to consider.
>
> On Jan 19, 2004, at 3:40 AM, Julie Stanford wrote:
>
> > We've found an effective way of error messaging on the web through
> > testing and many years of experience which we tend to use on all of
> > our web design projects that involve forms. It has several parts:
> >
> > 1) Mark all the fields that have an error in a color (like bold red)
> >
> > 2) At the top of the page, put an eyecatching icon indicating an error
> > (preferably something friendly) and intro text such as "Some
> > information below is missing or incorrect. Please look at the item(s)
> > marked in red and enter the requested information."
> >
> > 3) Follow the intro message described in point 2 above with a bulleted
> > list of the fields that have a problem and a simple explanation of the
> > problem. For example:
> >
> > Some information below is missing or incorrect. Please look at the
> > item(s) marked in red and enter the requested information.
> > - Resource: Enter a resource name that has not previously been used.
> > The resource name you entered is already used by another resource.
> > - Resource type: Select a resource type.
> >
> > - Julie Stanford
> > _______________________________________________________________________
> > ___
> >
> > Julie Stanford
> > Principal
> > julie at slicedbreaddesign.com www.slicedbreadde
> > sign.com
> >
> > phone: 650-625-1925
> > mobile: 650-799-7225
> > fax: 240-525-1315
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Interaction Design Discussion List
> > discuss at interactiondesigners.com
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> > to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
> > http://discuss.interactiondesigners.com
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>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd R. Warfel
> User Experience Architect
> MessageFirst | making products easier to use
> --------------------------------------
> Contact Info
> voice: (607) 339-9640
> email: twarfel at messagefirst.com
> web: www.messagefirst.com
> aim: twarfel at mac.com
> --------------------------------------
> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> In practice, they are not.
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> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 4
> Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 12:03:41 -0500
> From: "Reimann, Robert" <Robert_Reimann at bose.com>
> Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Error messaging best practices
> To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> Message-ID:
> <8BBA7B03263AD5118AE80003470D456D0C88ADED at minerva.bose.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain
>
>
> Of course, the best design tip regarding error messages
> is to design your product or system so that they aren't
> necessary. Not always possible (especially on the web)
> in all cases, but it's a goal to shoot for. The Amazon
> "Fuzzy Search" example (listed under Search Results, not
> Error Messages) on the 37signals site is a good example
> of this kind of thinking.
>
> Robert.
>
> ---
>
> Robert Reimann
> Manager, User Interface Design
> Bose Design Center
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Carrie Ritch [mailto:critch at rochester.rr.com]
> Sent: Monday, January 19, 2004 8:40 AM
> To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Error messaging best practices
>
>
> 37signals has a wonderful resource on their site called Design not Found:
> http://www.37signals.com/dnf/snapshots/index.php
>
> Sort the list by Error Messages and you will find a lot of "don't do"
> examples and some "do's". The bad examples are very informative as to what
> you should include in error messages.
>
> good luck,
> carrie
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
> ers.com]On Behalf Of Ryan Powell
> Sent: Friday, January 16, 2004 11:16 AM
> To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> Subject: [ID Discuss] Error messaging best practices
>
>
> I'm looking for info on best practices / guidelines for error messaging
(for
> forms on the web)- both the content of the message and the way errors are
> brought to the user's attention.
>
> Does anyone know of any good sources? Or maybe just a site that has an
> interesting solution?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Ryan Powell
> HSBC
> Chicago, IL
>
> __________________________________
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> ------------------------------
>
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