Date posted

20 Sep 2022

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Looking ahead to a new digital accessibility standard


Is your website truly user centred?


How does your website prevent and recover from errors?

How are errors defined in UX?

Considering error prevention and recovery is a vital part of developing and maintaining your website to ensure your customers have the best experience throughout their journey on your site.

Errors come in two forms: slips and mistakes.

A slip is an error of execution, where you were trying to do something but your input was inaccurate. Such as pressing the wrong button. 

A mistake is an error of intention, where you weigh up the available options and choose an option which doesn’t match your expected outcome.

Both error types can seriously harm users perception and experience of your site.

How can errors impact the customer experience?

Errors can impact your customers’ experience in every stage of their lifecycle.

A slip in the checkout could cause a user to clear a whole form of personal information, leading them to abandon checkout entirely.

A mistake could lead a user to the wrong webpage, resulting in them not finding the product they are interested in.

Mistakes, in the worst cases, can lead to deleting important information, such as insurance files, hotel bookings or even family holiday photographs. This will lead to mistrust in your product or service.

How can these errors be prevented?

Mitigating any and all errors is vital for your business’ integrity as well as your customers’ experience and perception of your brand.

To prevent mistakes you should:

  • Conduct user research to learn how your users respond to your site.
  • Only show vital contextual information to help users make decisions. 
  • Allow users to preview results or confirm destructive or irreversible actions before they complete them. 
  • Provide clear information that cannot be conflated or misunderstood. Use plain and descriptive language. 
  • Offer suggestions to guide users thoughts.

To prevent slips you should: 

  • Use common design conventions, so users feel familiar when they land on your site.
  • Increase the size of touch targets and space between touch targets
  • Provide useful input constraints, such as requiring an ‘@’ and a ‘.’ for emails, or area codes for telephones. 
  • Provide useful defaults, for example ‘Today’ and ‘Tomorrow’ when selecting a date.
  • Support undo to allow users to revert back.

If you need support making your site more error-friendly, get in touch with our UX team today.