Now, it’s not the most glamorous part of UX but it is a very important subject. I’ve always said try and make the route to purchase, or the route through registration, or the route to place that bet as informative and directional as possible. This, unfortunately, include your error messages.
Error association is key
Avoid at all costs error messages with undecipherable garbage messages and don’t forget to place messages directly after the error that just happened. Association is key.
It’s annoying but it happens. Having seen the complexity behind the scenes that results in a successful deposit it surprises me when it goes through. Conveying those reasons to the user is simply not necessary , so you need a generic “this didn’t work” message.
Login and Registration
Confidentiality is king, so you simply cannot tell the user whether it’s their password or username that’s incorrect – my question is; is there another way ?
... and as I've said, make it count and make it sexy.
But in general, my rule of thumb is keep the error message clearly associated with the error – not very sexy but at least try and make it beautiful.
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This is but a another contribution to the design community by spindlelegs. Please leave a comment or message direct at email@example.com