Bad error messages


While working today I had to write an error message that a user would see if their session had timed out. I was tempted to write something like:
Sorry your session has expired please login again.
But I quickly realized that the average user has no idea what a session is referring to, and why it has expired. In some cases the user may think that their account has expired. Users may also not understand what you mean by a timeout – that’s where you send the bad kids?

Us web developers often throw technical jargon into our web applications without much thought. I’ve done it, and I’ve seen lots of messages that only a web developer would understand out there.

Lets try to be better about this, ok?

He’s right about that, I never really thought about that aspect of usability when writing error messages in my apps. I promise to amend 🙂

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