Error Messages🚨: Problem or opportunity?
What can we say about errors?
Of course, the goal is to avoid them, but realistically not all errors are avoidable.
Eventually, despite our best intentions our users will hit a bump in the road.
What we do next though is completely within our control AND it can make all the difference.
Do we have the devs throw together a 404 page and focus on “more important” copy or do we write until we get it right?
Error messages are an amazing opportunity to show our customers a little bit more of our brand’s personality and build some trust and loyalty. ✨
WHAT’S INSIDE ✍️
Tips and guidelines for handling error messages 🚨
How to write for chatbots 🎧
Fallback messages, a different kind of error 🤖
Using AI to create error messages ✍️
This week: We’ve rounded up some of the best resources out there when it comes to writing error messages the right way.
Learn by Listening 🎧
In keeping with this week’s microcopy bite we are featuring two stellar podcasts that can help you bring your game to the next level.
First, check out this episode from UX Nordic, where our own Yuval Keshtcher lays out the framework for writing better error messages.
Then, dive into this amazing and insightful discussion with Sarah Loigge about writing for a chatbot.
The next cohort of the UX Writing Academy is beginning on October 9th, 2023.
Get all the skills you need to get hired as an in-house or freelance UX writer in this extensive 6-month training program.
Pillars of the Community 💪
Loved this insight from Jorn. There’s so much to get right when it comes to writing error messages! 🚨
Microcopy Bite 💬
Here’s a look at a different sort of error message. One that is becoming incredibly important to write for.
In this example, we’re looking at fallback messages for chatbots.
A fallback message occurs when the chatbot is having difficulty understanding a user’s input.
In order to keep the experience feeling conversational and to draw out the information you need from the user you will want to craft thoughtful responses. And yes that was plural. Don’t have your chatbot say the same thing over and over. It’s not only annoying but inauthentic.
Inject some personality into your bot’s response.
Don’t say generic things like “I didn’t catch that.”
Don’t harp on the issue, respond with a way for the user to solve the problem.
Moment of Mirth 😂
This has to be the epitome of what an error message should be. Something to get the user back on track and offer a little levity (when appropriate).
🤖 AI & UX
As with everything else, AI is going to change the way that we approach writing error messages. Check out these articles for some hot tips 🔥.
UX WRITING JOBS 👩💻
Whether you’re looking for an entry-level position or a senior role we’ve got them all. We’re constantly updating the job board, so keep on checking!
Chris Lee is one of our UX Writing Academy grads and we are SO proud of him and his work. Check out his portfolio as well this handy little piece he wrote about error message best practices.
Yuval’s UX Lit Pick 📖
In this book, Kinneret really covers it all…including best practices for writing error messages.
If you haven’t already read Microcopy The Complete Guide I highly recommend it. And while you’re at it, get out a highlighter 😉.
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Yuval Keshtcher and UXWH team ✍️