Whenever some kind of user input takes place, there will usually be the possibility for an error. Think about checkout or registration forms. These are minefields for potential user error.
Even if we try our best to make things intuitive, it’s hard to totally remove the possibility of mistakes happening, and these need to be planned for during the design phase.
There are many different kinds of errors for us to think about.
- Validation. The user didn’t enter information in the way the system expected it.
- Submission. There was a problem that wasn’t the user’s fault, but we need to let them know.
- Content. The user requested something we can’t give them.
When designing your product, you need to think about every scenario in which an error could occur. You should then design a state for it, to ensure the system is handling that error gracefully.
This can be time consuming, but it’s the attention to detail that makes for a well designed product.
There are a few different things to think about here…
- How the error appears. We should use animation or contrast to draw the user’s attention.
- Styling and position. The error notification should be visually linked to where the problem took place.
- Language. Errors should be written in a clear, user-friendly and on-brand way. Avoid ‘tech speak’ at all costs.
- Clear solutions. After informing the user of an error, we should also allude to a solution. This might be an instruction, or a link to something else that might help them out.