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Interaction Design Guidelines

There are some factors that need to be considered in the moment of designing and developing a software product. This factors or guidelines are recommended by different authors with the aim of improve the user experience by making the application interfaces more learnable, intuitive, helpful and consistent throughout the software.

From all the interaction design guidelines, I would like to address the topic of the error messages and error prevention. I consider that both are very interesting and have big impact from the user’s side.

Error Messages

The error messages have to be clear and written in user language in order to be understood by the users and help them to recover from the error doing the necessary changes. If the message is too technical, the users will not know the cause and also the effect of their actions.

                         Do not disturb the user!!!

Also error messages must be clear and visible without disturbing the user but being noticeable enough to indicate the users about the error.

                       Noticeable Error Messages

The error, confirmation or alert messages MUST NOT be confuse. This means that the question for the user must be understandable enough to facilitate the decision and also is very important that the options offered are clear and simple.

               Try to take the correct decision!

Also if the user has done an error, the response of the program should be the error message and also point out in a noticeable way where the mistake from the user has occurred; doing this the user will be able to introduce the correct values and recover from the error.

Error Prevention

First, the aim of the software systems should be to avoid the user’s errors and this can be done by a correct prevention. The system should provide help messages or examples of the values or actions that the user has to do in order to complete a task.

       Information Messages to Prevent Errors

Sometimes, the values should be fixed and just proved the user a method to select among them and not type them for guarantying that the introduced information is valid.

Also another option is to provide the user with specific fields to prevent failures while introducing data. For example, in a telephone number field should be 2 or 3 small textboxes to separate the prefix from the actual number or also provide some “artifacts” to help on introducing data like calendars.

      Calendar Field

validation example

      Separate textfields for the telephone numbers

As a conclusion, there are different kinds of guidelines to facilitate and make easier the interaction between the users and the products; these guidelines depend on several factors like the technology used, the platforms, the devices, etc. The designers and the developers should consider the corresponding guidelines for each development with the aim of improve the user experience and provide a better quality. The main idea is first to think about the possible errors or problems that the designing decisions can create for our future users.

Sources:

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