System Messages, Screen Design and Color

Messages need to be informative, screens uncluttered.

Error Messages

In some cases systems, are remembered more for what happens when things go wrong than for when things go right. --- Schneiderman.

Error Message Guidelines



Avoid anthropomorphic computer talk.

Display Design

Some of the data display guidelines of Smith and Mosier (MITRE Corp.)

Grouping items together logically and in a structured format makes the display much easier to use.


The principles developed by graphic artists are now being adapted for use with computer displays. Consider getting guidance form a graphic artist.

Some color guidelines

Look at the ColorDemoApplet to examine how color contrasts in background a foreground work. The applet code.

Last Changed: April 10th 1995.
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