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Pattern Group K. Making Navigation Easy > Place the Error Message near the Prob...

Place the Error Message near the Problem It Identifies

Good error messages are presented spatially near the problem area in a visually apparent manner. A common design mistake is to put error messages on a completely separate page, with no context. This approach forces people to remember the problem, hit the Back button, wait for the previous page to load, find the problem area, and then try to fix it. Figure K13.1 shows a better design: re-creating the page where the error occurred and placing error messages near the problem areas. This approach makes it easy to find and fix problems.

Figure K13.1. Dell's Web page handles errors in the checkout with two error messages, which are positioned near the problem area. These error messages state the problem and what customers must do to fix it.

(www.dell.com, August 11, 2001)



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