Recoverability of errors may be a key element to consider while designing products. When errors occur, the following five factors may repair the damage, the error it causes to users in the first place.
1. Provide visibility to the user of what was done
An error occurs when a user did something that the system doesn’t have the skills to handle. When users make mistakes and obtain no feedback, they’re completely lost. For example, sending an email that was run over by a virus, but the recipient doesn’t know a thing about it. When an error occurs, it’s good to inform the user, precisely what the user did a couple of moments ago. This way, it will help the user realize whether his actions were right or not and make amends accordingly.
2. Tell the user what went wrong
Once the error has occurred, the user must know what went wrong in the first place. The message should be clear enough to state what went wrong. This information is additional to providing visibility where the user is told what he did rather than what went wrong then.
3. Indicate how the user can reverse the unwanted outcome
Users are least curious about geeky or innovative error messages. They only want to urge out of the error situation as soon as possible. Including error codes like ‘Type 2 error number 10000345 occurred’ is least informative or useful. The error message displayed should help the user reverse the error or what’s the subsequent thing to try to do so he could get over this error. In short, how can the user return to the base state of the app, where he left off before the error occurred, is critical for the user to understand. Additionally, giving useful advice to the user to repair the matter is sweet. For example, on an e-commerce app, a book that went out of stock is undoubtedly worse in comparison to providing the ‘Notify’ feature that notifies you when the book is back available.
4. If reversibility isn’t possible, indicate this to the user
In some cases, reversing a mistake isn’t possible. In such a case, it’s best to point out to the user to force-close the appliance and begin from scratch or a selected location within the app. Take an example of password fields. When a user enters the most straightforward password, a mistake message throws with an enormous list of instructions for a stronger password. Instead, if the user is warned upfront about these instructions using a sort of a label below the password field, the effort might be avoided.
5. Preserve User Data
The app must be ready to preserve the user’s data in the least times and never corrupt or leak it.
For example, if you miss-spell ‘Murph’s Law’ in Google, it displays results, but also displays ‘Showing results for ‘Murphy’s Law.’ Transforming a mistake situation to genuinely helping the user is an intelligent thanks to affecting a mistake. Here’s a message from Don Norman about error messages: “Error messages punish people for not behaving like machines. It’s time we let people behave like people. When an issue arises, we should always call it machine error, not human error: the machine was designed wrong, demanding that we conform to its peculiar requirements. It’s time to style and build machines that conform to our requirements. Stop confronting us: Collaborate with us.”