Error Messages: Mistakes to Avoid

Try to avoid the following: Anthropomorphize. Don’t suggest the software has feelings or thoughts, for example, the PC died. Instead, say, it stopped responding or is not available. Blame. Maybe the user was at fault, for example, entered text into a field meant for numbers. However, instead of saying this was wrong, bad, or illegal, […]

The Definitive Guide to Writing Error Messages

These guidelines will help you write error messages that are easy to update and useful for customers. Error messages are the first line of customer support. Poorly written error messages increase technical support costs. A well-written error message tells you, the user, the following: What has happened Why has it occurred How it impacts you, […]

User Guide Checklist

Use this checklist to write your User Guide. The checklist will help reviewers determine if the specifications meet the quality criteria and comply with development methodology requirements. Download 4 MS Word User Guide Templates General Information System Overview – introduce the system at a high-level and its relationship to others, if necessary. References – list […]

Sample Microsoft Windows Error Messages

The following is an example of error messages for Microsoft Windows XP: When you try to install a program that uses the Windows Installer in Microsoft Windows XP, the program does not install, and you may receive an error message that is similar to one of the following error messages: The Windows Installer service could […]

Oracle Error Message Guidelines

The following is an example of how Oracle writes error messages. Notice the format of the error message: · ORA-00058 – error number for tracking · DB_BLOCK_SIZE must be string to mount this database (not string) – description of error message · Cause: what caused the error to occur · Potential reasons: note the use […]

What is an Error Message?

Q: What is an error message? An error message describes a problem that stop a user or system from completing a task. An error message must include enough information for the user to solve the problem. What types of error messages are there? In general, there are three types of error messages: · Confirmations · […]

Error Message Writing Guidelines (and Word Template)

In this technical writing tutorial, we look at how to write better error messages. Error Messages Guide Template (MS Word) Use this Error Message Guide template (14 pages MS Word) to show users how to resolve error messages that may appear in your application. This template also comes in the Technical Writing Template Pack (233 pages MS Word). Scroll […]

Sample Website Installation Plan

The following guidelines explain how to install a website application. Getting Started It is recommended that you install and verify the software in your test environment prior to deploying it to your production environment. Warning – When specifying an existing database as the installation target, this install process will replace that existing database. Be sure […]

Release Notes: How to Validate Technical Accuracy

How can you validate the technical accuracy of your release notes? Follow these guidelines by creating a checklist and reviewing each item on the list. Download: Release Notes template package with 2 pre-formatted templates in MS Word. Download Now for $7.99- Buy Here! Learn more about these Release Notes Templates Files affected Have you entered the […]

IBM Error Message Guidelines

The following is an example of how IBM writes error messages. Notice the words and phrasing as well as how the alert categories are explained. Error Message There is no value specified for the User ID. Explanation You must specify a value for the user ID. Alert Category Similar events are grouped in categories. The […]