RE: writing error messages for software application

Subject: RE: writing error messages for software application
From: Robert Heath <rheath -at- eGain -dot- com>
To: "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 16:31:48 -0800

If you would like to see examples of poor or even offensive error messages,
check out the Interface Hall of Shame's page on error messages at
http://www.iarchitect.com/errormsg.htm .

My own peeve is messages with exclamation points. "You must enter a date!,"
etc. Another one is messages that are too cryptic to the average user to be
understood, or do not give advice on how to fix the error and avoid it in
the future. Some might say that such advice belongs in the troubleshooting
section of a help file, but I do not like hunting down the info if I'm
already upset that an application crashed or complained.

--Robert

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mason, Catheryn [mailto:CMason -at- INFINITEC-COM -dot- com]
> Sent: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 3:07 PM
> To: TECHWR-L
> Subject: writing error messages for software application
>
>
> Hello fellow whirlers:
> I'd like to gather advice on writing error messages that are concise,
> helpful, and not intimidating to the user. I'm designing a
> Windows GUI for
> our software and I'm finding that writing good error messages
> is the hardest
> part of the project (for me, anyway). Anybody have any
> success stories or
> tips to share? Anything, as a user of software applications,
> that you either
> really like or hate to see in an error message?
>
<snip>
> Catheryn Mason, Technical Writer
> Infinitec Communications
> cmason -at- infinitec-com -dot- com
> Winner, 1999 IABC Bronze Quill Award of Excellence for
> Technical Writing
>




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