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Designed for Use, 2nd Edition by Lukas Mathis

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No Error, No Blame

It’s good practice not to blame users for the errors they make. It’s even better practice to include error messages that help users figure out how to fix the problem. But it’s best not to let the problem occur at all. If something goes wrong, it’s usually not the user’s fault; it’s your fault. If your product worked differently, then the problem might never have occurred.

You can prevent a number of common errors from occurring simply by changing the user interface. Let’s look at two sources of such errors.

Mode Errors

Problems we perceive as “user error” can often be attributed to products not clearly indicating their current state or what specific action they expect from the user. I’ve written about this in Chapter 23,

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