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Content style guide

Error messages

Error messages tell the user that something has gone wrong. These messages should be clear, direct, and have an actionable call to action (CTA) for the user.

Error messages mainly appear in interactive experiences such as tools, forms, and applications. Because this category of messaging usually has a lot of visual design and formatting that affects copy, go to the design section for more detailed guidance and formatting of error messages.

Error messages should provide the following information:

  • What’s the error or issue?
  • What caused the error or issue?
  • What does the user need to do to continue?
  • If there’s nothing they can do, what’s the next step for the user?

See the error message style guide for additional guidance on writing error messages. See the error message dictionary for specific error message examples and use cases.

Last updated: Dec 10, 2019