RE: ISO standards for displaying errors, warnings, etc.

Subject: RE: ISO standards for displaying errors, warnings, etc.
From: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>
To: "Stacia Marlett" <smarlett -at- digitalriver -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2006 15:00:15 -0500

Stacia Marlett asked...

> I've tried Googling and searching the ISO website, but I cannot find
> clear definitions for Errors, Warnings, etc. I'm working with our UI
> Design group on displaying errors in our web app. We aren't sure what
> the standards are for the little icons that go with errors, or the
> correct level of priority.
> Right now we have a red triangle containing a white exclamation point
> with bold red font for errors, and a yellow triangle containing a
> exclamation point with normal black font for warnings. We also use an
> "Info" message with a blue circle and a white "i" for the icon. Our
> success messages are a green circle containing a white checkmark. What
> are the other levels?
> Anything will be most appreciated. Thank you in advance!

If you are being directed to follow ISO standards, this may not be
helpful. However, if you only searching for a standard, I will share
what we use in our group; perhaps it will be useful. For terms we use
"Caution" and "Warning" and "Error." Each of these terms is defined as

CAUTION - This is a condition when something you do (usually hardware
installation related) can cause damage to equipment. Examples include
reversing polarity on wiring, causing a short circuit, or failing to
leave adequate ventilation space for cooling.

WARNING - This is a condition when something you do (usually hardware
installation related) can cause damage to a person. Examples include
failure to adequately secure wall-mounted hardware, improper tethering
to a utility ladder, or electrical shock.

ERROR - This refers to a message generated by a software application
which notifies the user or administrator that it is unable to process a
request or failed to complete a procedure as expected. The error can be
visual, audio, or both.

As for our symbols, we use yellow to refer to CAUTION situations and red
to refer to WARNING situations. Warning symbols are slightly larger and
more prominent than Caution symbols. For Errors we do not have a
standard, since we try to depict visual error messages (from an
application) via screenshot, and that is dependent on the application.
Many of those are red, but that's not universal.

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