Any way to success is made of not only achievements but also failures and errors. With digital products it works the same way: only in the perfect world, people and apps communicate with no mistakes, misunderstandings, technical faults, and unpredictable scenarios. Well, none of us is there, we are in the real world. Here diverse errors present an integral part of any user experience, so there is no chance for designers and developers to avoid dealing with them. Let’s get well-prepared: today we’ve gathered a post devoted to various errors in web and mobile user interfaces. Here we’ll talk about types and reasons for errors as well as design strategies and practices on reducing the negative effect they may bring up.

Well-crafted errors would rather stick to the following points:

Check the full article: Error Screens and Messages: UX Design Practices


Preventing User Errors: Avoiding Conscious Mistakes

When working with a system like a website or app, users start with a goal of some kind and, based on their mental model of the system, they form an action plan to accomplish that goal. Then they take action, and look to verify that their action produced the desired results. In his book The Design of Everyday ThingsDon Norman refers to this process as bridging the Gulf of Execution (“How do I work with this tool to accomplish my goal?”) and the Gulf of Evaluation (“Did this work how I wanted it to?”).

A lot of user mistakes (but not slips) happen when users do not get enough help in bridging these two gulfs, and the designers’ mental model and interpretation of how the system should work does not match users’ mental models. In those situations, users either form an action plan that is incorrect or they do not understand well how the state of the system changed as a result of their actions. While preventing slips is often a simple matter of validation and enforcing constraints, preventing mistakes involves understanding users’ mental models and their expectations and making your designers match them. Do not make the error of thinking that users are going to eventually learn your designers’ mental models; while that may be the case in rare situations where users are forced to use the system regularly, with most consumer-facing apps and websites users just navigate to a different site instead of bothering to learn a tricky one.

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