Quality busters, Make your error messages meaningful

Develop messages that make sense to both users and programmers

From the developerWorks archives

Michael Russell

Date archived: May 15, 2019 | First published: October 20, 2004

Many applications treat users as if they were programmers. Messages that report errors are often cryptic, contain meaningless codes, and provide no help regarding what to do next. While the developers who wrote the application can use those messages, most users are left with one option: call the help desk. This article describes a more appropriate kind of error message for users: one that includes description, cause, and recovery steps.

This content is no longer being updated or maintained. The full article is provided "as is" in a PDF file. Given the rapid evolution of technology, some content, steps, or illustrations may have changed.



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