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Pattern Group K. Making Navigation Easy > Provide Clear Error Messages without ...

Provide Clear Error Messages without Assigning Blame

A meaningful error message clearly states the problem in FAMILIAR LANGUAGE (K11) and without blame. Examples of poor error messages include “Error code 15,” “Invalid syntax,” and “You entered bad data.” The first two messages provide no useful information about the problem. The third message places blame on the person by using a you statement, as in “You did this wrong.” These kinds of statements can usually be rewritten to avoid placing any blame.


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