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An error message is a message displayed to the user by an operating system or application when an unexpected condition happens. In most cases, error messages are displayed with the help of dialog boxes by the operating system or application. Error messages are required when user intervention is needed or to pass important warnings.
Part of every computer hardware, software and even the operating system, error messages are widely seen throughout the computing world. They alert users of an issue which has occurred. Different standards of displaying error messages are followed by different applications or operating systems. Although most use dialog boxes or pop-up boxes, notification icons and status bars are also used for displaying error messages.Effective and proper error messages require users to be informed of the problem, why it occurred and give guidance or a solution to resolve the issue. Based on the error message prompt, users are expected to change the data input or behavior or perform a different course of actions.
Proper design of error messages is an important criteria in the fields of usability and even in other fields involving human-computer interactions. For quality user experience, the error messages need to be well-documented and helpful. Poorly documented error messages result in poor user and product satisfaction.