Feedback & Help

Overview

Feedback is giving users an obvious indication that something has happened (most of the time, as a result of a user’s action), is happening, or could happen. Feedback and help should both be:

 

non-disruptive

Non-disruptive
Depicting interface changes (i.e. feedback) and providing help should not disrupt the user's current process.

consistent

Consistent
Feedback and help should be placed and shown in a consistent manner throughout the entire project.

understandable

Understandable
Use your user's language and mental model.

 


This communication is essential so that users are not left guessing. If something goes wrong, the interface has to alert the user, and provide instructions on how to correct it. This is where help comes in. These two essentially share the same purpose, and therefore, the same guiding principles.

Guidelines

Update users if there is expected latency

If the operation is expected to be more than 0.5-2 seconds, use a 'loading' indicator. For more than 4 seconds wait, inform the users in advance, of the duration. Use animated progress indicators if the wait if more than about 5 seconds. For extended waits of more than 10-15 seconds, consider incorporating information or entertainment that can keep the users occupied while they wait. Provide a strong visual or audio cue to signify the end of long operations, so that they are notified.

Use customized error pages, which includes tips on how to find the missing page and links to "Home" and Search

When customizing error screens (e.g. 404 or 500 pages), consider the following tips:

  • Provide a back button that brings users back to the page they came from
  • Provide links to relevant pages or link the user to major sections of the site
  • Encourage the user to use the search bar
  • Provide an option to report the broken link to the administrator
  • Show the sitemap or a link to a sitemap
  • Adopt the same style and branding as the rest of the pages

Warn users before Time-out or Auto-logout

Inform users before auto-logging them out, and give them a choice to cancel the logout, and continue with the application or website

Feedback is giving users an obvious indication that something has happened (most of the time, as a result of a user’s action), is happening, or could happen. Feedback and help should both be:

 

non-disruptive

Non-disruptive
Depicting interface changes (i.e. feedback) and providing help should not disrupt the user's current process.

consistent

Consistent
Feedback and help should be placed and shown in a consistent manner throughout the entire project.

understandable

Understandable
Use your user's language and mental model.

 


This communication is essential so that users are not left guessing. If something goes wrong, the interface has to alert the user, and provide instructions on how to correct it. This is where help comes in. These two essentially share the same purpose, and therefore, the same guiding principles.