Error Messages: Text for the title bar

Subject: Error Messages: Text for the title bar
From: dave -at- netmedia -dot- net -dot- il
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2002 02:12:33 -0700

I have been doing a little Web research into the art of writing error
messages. The consensus seems to be that they should include a statement
of the problem, the cause and how the the user can solve the problem.

All in the most concise and informative way possible.

I would like to address a related question -- what should be included in
the title bar of the message? I haven't seen anything that directly
addresses this question.

Based on what I have seen I would like to suggest the following guidelines
for title bars in error messages. The guidelines are in descending order.
That is, if "1" is not relevant or possible, try guideline 2, and so on.

1. A brief description of the remedy.

2. A brief description of the error/problem.

3. A description of the context within the application (eg Printing,

4. The name of the dialog box that appeared prior to the error. (Sometimes
this will be the same as 3.)

5. The application name. This would be a default for all messages, if
nothing else is appropriate.

What sayeth the list?

TIA for all comments,

David Rapport

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