Use the guidelines below when creating error messages.
- The title on all message boxes should be the name of the application or plug-in, unless the error comes from Lotus Expeditor, in which case the title bar should state something about the component that threw the error, for example, “Synchronization”. An example of an application title bar would be:
- IBM Lotus Sametime
- IBM Symphony Document
- IBM Lotus Notes
- The first line or sentence must state what went wrong. Use full sentences and sentence punctuation.
- For example, “The message is not addressed to anyone.”
- The second line or sentence must tell the user what to do about it, using a full sentence and sentence punctuation.
- For example, “Type the names of one or more recipients for this message.”
- Each error message must make a sound when it is displayed (for accessibility reasons). Use a default system beep.
- Error messages can be modeless or modal.
- If your organization insists that an error message must have a number on it, put the number under the message (see figure 1). Starting an error message with a number is not helpful to end users.
- A modeless error message lets the user continue to interact with the application, for example, open other documents.
- A modal error message requires the user to respond to the error dialog before continuing to use the application.
Figure 1. Sample error message with error message number
Confirmation of deletions
When you confirm the deletion of anything, use the following wording, ensuring that you provide specific Yes and No options (rather than OK and Cancel), and making “No” the default:
Do you want to permanently delete <
[ Yes ] [ No ]