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Different Types of Error Messages
There are four different types of error messages:
1. System errors
These are generated by the system and are usually technical. They can be caused by a broken link or server outage.
2. Application errors
These occur when the user does something that the application doesn’t recognize or isn’t expecting. This could be anything from entering an invalid data format to trying to access a resource that doesn’t exist.
3. User input errors
These happen when the user provides incorrect or incomplete information. This could be anything from forgetting to fill in a required field to provide an invalid email address.
4. Security errors
These arise when there is a potential security risk, such as attempting to access a sensitive file without proper permissions.
Let’s start by identifying the different scenarios where error messages might be needed. Here are some common examples:
|Error Scenario||Content of error message|
|Invalid Input||“Please enter a valid email address”|
|Missing input||“Please fill out all required fields”|
|Server error||“Sorry, we are currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again later.”|
|Network error||“Could not connect to the server. Please check your internet connection and try again.”|
|Authorization error||“You do not have permission to perform this action. Please contact your administrator.”|
|Payment error||“Transaction failed. Please try again or contact support.”|
|File upload error||“Sorry, we could not upload your file. Please try again with a different file.”|
|Timeout error||“Sorry, your session has timed out. Please log in again.”|
Of course, the specific wording and tone of the error message will depend on the context and brand voice of your application. But this list should give you a good starting point for identifying the different types of error messages you may need.
How to write Good Error Messages?
Here is a basic process for starting to write an error message:
1. Identify the specific error scenario
The first step is to identify the specific scenario that triggered the error message. For example, was it a network error, a missing input, or an authorization error? Understanding the root cause of the error will help you write the message.
2. Determine the severity of the error
Not all errors are of the same level. Some errors are minor inconveniences, while others can have more serious consequences. Determine the severity of the error and use that to guide the tone and content of your error message.
3. Write a clear and concise message
Once you know the specific error scenario and severity, it’s time to start crafting your message. Use clear, simple language that’s easy to understand. Be concise and get to the point quickly.
4. Use positive language
Positive language helps reduce stress and puts users in a better frame of mind when interacting with your product. Avoid phrases like “error” or “invalid” that could come across as negative or harsh. Instead, try something like “Oops! We’re having trouble verifying your information.”
5. Guide on how to fix the error
Don’t just tell the user what went wrong; also guide how to fix the issue. This could be a suggestion for what to do next or a link to more information.
6. Test and iterate
Once you’ve written your error message, be sure to test it with real users. Ask for feedback and look for places to improve the message. Iterate until you have an error message that’s both effective and user-friendly.
Note that this is just an essential process, and the steps you take might be different depending on the context of your application and the exact error situation. But by following these tips, you can create helpful error messages that help your users fix problems quickly and easily.
As promised, here is a list of error messages for you to use for free.