Error handling design guidelines

Registered by Matthew Paul Thomas on 2012-10-16

Ubuntu, and applications running on Ubuntu, display errors in highly varied ways. Notification bubbles, colored menu titles, alert boxes, ribbons inside, and error icons of various sizes. In some cases these errors are not useful, in that they do not help people fix the problem.

At UDS we presented, and gathered feedback on, draft design guidelines on how Ubuntu and applications should present errors to users.

These guidelines cover things like:
- accepting or preventing errors in the first place
- allowing undo
- appropriate UI elements for presenting errors
- appropriate use of the error tracker's "recoverable error" system
- tone of voice for error messages.

We hope these guidelines will be useful for Ubuntu developers, for application developers, and for bug reporters and triagers to tell when error messages are appropriate.

Blueprint information

Status:
Not started
Approver:
Ivanka Majic
Priority:
Undefined
Drafter:
Matthew Paul Thomas
Direction:
Needs approval
Assignee:
Matthew Paul Thomas
Definition:
Review
Series goal:
Proposed for raring
Implementation:
Unknown
Milestone target:
None

Related branches

Sprints

Whiteboard

(?)

Work Items

Work items:
[ivanka] communicate a launchpad tag for these sorts of errors: TODO
[ivanka] publicise the existence of the guidelines: TODO
[mpt] Clarify "Accepting": TODO
[mpt] Compare with Errors section in "Design of everyday things": TODO
[mpt] Say what went wrong only if it isn't already obvious: TODO
[mpt] add guideline for error messages to have selectable text: TODO
[mpt] Add advice on how to show info for tech support (e.g. in "Details" sections) : TODO
[mpt] Add examples of tone of voice : TODO
[doctormo] Examples of useful information: TODO
[doctormo] Artwork for errors, get ideas from various people: TODO

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Everyone can see this information.