Error messages should be tailored to the function so that the user is clear about what has happened and what they should do next.

An error message should follow this structure:

1) apologise for the error
2) briefly explain what the problem is, to give the user some context
3) tell the user what to do next

Example: Sorry, there is a technical problem with our system at the moment and we cannot complete your request. Please try again later.


Standard error messages

Please use the ‘Standard error messages’ spreadsheet to find common errors that are already in use on and mobile. The list is not exhaustive, but is intended to give direction on how to write error messages.

Standard Error Messages-7May2015v1

Each project should have copywriting resource allocated to it, so error messages will be reviewed and drafted relevant to that development.


Inline errors for forms

Please see Standard field labels_7May2015v2  for inline errors against field labels in forms.