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Patterns

Error message dictionary

System messaging

Alerts the user of important system-related issues or status. It’s initiated by the system and it’s not a result of the user’s actions.

Note: See Error Messages for guidance on when to consider adding instruction to call the VA.gov help desk or other “next-step” call to action.

Scheduled downtime notice scenarios

Scenario Message title Message content Component State Location
Notice of upcoming scheduled downtime (sitewide) VA.gov will be down for maintenance soon We’ll be doing some work on VA.gov on [DATE] between [TIME] and [TIME]. If you have trouble using the site during that time, please check back soon. Modal Informational N/A
Notice of upcoming scheduled downtime (application) [APPLICATION NAME] will be down for maintenance soon We’ll be doing some work on [APPLICATION NAME] on [DATE] between [TIME] and [TIME]. If you have trouble using this tool during that time, please check back soon. Modal Informational N/A
Notice of upcoming scheduled downtime (authentication provider) [ID.ME/DS LOGON/MYHEALTHEVET] will be down for maintenance soon [ID.ME/DS LOGON/MYHEALTHEVET] will be down for maintenance on [DATE] between [TIME] and [TIME]. If you have trouble signing in to your Vets.gov account during that time, please check back soon. Alert box Informational Below sign in overlay title

Updates to user data (system-initiated)

Some messages written to reflect the example; other variations will be added to expanded dictionary section.

Scenario Message title Message content Actions Component State Location
Status update (e.g. claim closed) Your [CLAIM TYPE] claim update Our records show that your claim was closed on [DATE]. N/A Alert box Informational Replace affected component
Action required (e.g. claim evidence request) We need your help to finish reviewing your claim Please provide more evidence (supporting documents) so we can finish reviewing your claim. See Details Alert box Warning alert Above affected component
Form prefill notice We’ve started your form for you We’ve filled in some of this form based on information you’ve given us in the past. Please double-check the information and update it as needed. N/A Alert box Informational Above affected component
Change in application feature, neutral/positive impact (e.g. SiP now available) You can now save your in-progress applications Sign in to VA.gov to save your application so you can come back later to complete it. All you’ll need to sign in is an email and password. Sign in to VA.gov Alert box Informational Above affected component

Engagement messaging

Nudges the user to enter or update data in the system. It can be initiated by either the system or another user.

Note: See Error Messages for guidance on when to consider adding instruction to call the VA.gov help desk or other “next-step” call to action.

Prompt to complete a task or enter data

Scenario Message title Message content Actions Component State Location
Continue a saved benefit application Still want to apply for [BENEFIT NAME]? The application you started for [BENEFIT NAME] will expire on [EXPIRATION DATE]. If you’d still like to apply, you’ll need to submit the application by this date. Or you can start a new application any time. [BUTTON 1] Continue your application [BUTTON 2] Start over Alert box Informational Replace affected component
Set up 2-factor authentication Want to make your VA.gov account more secure? You can add an optional extra layer of security (called 2-factor authentication) to your account. This helps to make sure that no one but you can access your account—even if someone gets your password. Secure your account Alert box Informational Replace affected component

Access messaging

Appears when the user tries to access an item that’s not available to them. It may be because the record has been deleted, the user doesn’t have access, etc.

Note: See Error Messages for guidance on when to consider adding instruction to call the VA.gov help desk or other “next-step” call to action.

System downtime

Variations in messaging will be contingent on:

  • Whether or not the downtime is scheduled/expected
  • If scheduled, when the application will be back up (precise time stamp if known, general estimate if not)
  • If not expected, general estimate of when the application will be back up
Scenario Message title Message content Actions Component State Location
Entire site is not accessible (scheduled downtime) VA.gov is down for maintenance right now We’re sorry. VA.gov isn’t ready for you right now. We’re doing some work to help make this site even better for Veterans, service members, and family members like you. We hope to finish our work by [DATE/TIME]. Please check back then. N/A Plain text N/A Replace page
Entire site is not accessible (expected) VA.gov isn’t working right now We’re sorry. Something went wrong on our end. Please refresh this page or try again [LENGTH OF TIME (ie, “tomorrow” or “in an hour”)]. N/A Plain text N/A Replace page
Entire site is accessible We’re working on the site We’re doing some work on VA.gov right now. You should still be able to use the applications and tools. But if you have any trouble, please check back soon. N/A Alert box Warning alert Banner
Application or page is not accessible [APPLICATION NAME] is down for maintenance We’re making some updates to [APPLICATION NAME]. We’re sorry it’s not working right now, and we hope to be finished by [DATE], [TIME]. Please check back soon. N/A Plain text N/A Replace page below title
Application or page is not accessible, no timeframe [APPLICATION NAME] is down for maintenance We’re making some updates to [APPLICATION NAME]. We’re sorry it’s not working right now. Please check back soon. N/A Plain text N/A Replace page below title
Application or page is accessible (general message; specific iterations to be added later) Some parts of this may not be working You can still use [APPLICATION/PAGE NAME], but some parts of it may not work for you. If you’re having trouble, please try again later. N/A Alert box Warning alert Below page title
Component is not accessible (general message; specific iterations to be added later) [COMPONENT NAME] isn’t working right now We’re sorry. Something went wrong on our end. Please refresh this page or try again [LENGTH OF TIME (ie, “tomorrow” or “in an hour”)]. Go back to previous page Alert box Warning alert Replace affected component
Component is accessible (general message; see application/component specific messages) Some information may not be up to date We’re sorry. Something’s not working quite right. You can still use [COMPONTENT NAME], but you may not be able to see all your updated information. If you’re having trouble, please try again [LENGTH OF TIME (ie, “tomorrow” or “in an hour”)]. N/A Alert box Warning alert Above affected component
Unable to complete an automated task (e.g. save application in progress) We couldn’t save your form We’re sorry. Something went wrong when we tried to save your form. If you’re on a secure and private computer, you can leave this page open and try saving your form again in a few minutes. If you’re on a public computer, you can continue to fill out your form, but it won’t automatically save as you fill it out. N/A Alert box Error alert Below affected component
Unable to complete a user-initiated task, can’t proceed We’ve run into a problem We’re sorry. Something went wrong on our end. Please try again. N/A Alert box Error alert Above page title
Unable to complete a user-initiated task, can still proceed We’ve run into a problem We’re sorry. Something went wrong on our end. You can try again now, or move on to the next step and come back later to complete this. N/A Alert box Warning alert Above page title

Network connection loss

Scenario Message title Message content Actions Component State Location
Application/page/component is not accessible due to user connection loss We can’t load [APPLICATION/PAGE/COMPONENT NAME] Please make sure you’re connected to the Internet, and refresh this page to try again. Try again Plain text N/A Below page title
Unable to complete an automated task (e.g. save application in progress) due to user connection loss We can’t save your form right now Please make sure you’re connected to the Internet, and then try saving your form again. Try again Plain text N/A Below affected component
Unable to complete a user-initiated task due to user connection loss We’ve run into a problem Please check to make sure you’re connected to the Internet, and try again. N/A Alert box Error alert Above page title

Authorization

Scenario Message title Message content Actions Component State Location
(Application) user’s records are not found We don’t seem to have your records We’re sorry. We can’t find your records in our system. If you think they should be here, please try again later or call the VA.gov help desk at 855-574-7286 (TTY: 711). We’re here Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. ET. N/A Plain text N/A Replace content below page title
(Page) user’s records are not found We don’t seem to have your records We’re sorry. We can’t find your records in our system. If you think they should be here, please try again later or call the VA.gov help desk at 855-574-7286 (TTY: 711). We’re here Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. ET. N/A Plain text N/A Replace content below page title
(Component) user’s records are not found We don’t seem to have your records We’re sorry. We can’t find your records in our system. If you think they should be here, please try again later or call the VA.gov help desk at 855-574-7286 (TTY: 711). We’re here Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. ET. N/A Plain text N/A Replace affected component
(Application) user is not eligible for a benefit because they aren’t a Veteran/dependent/spouse You’re not eligible for this benefit It looks like you’re not eligible for this benefit based on the information you’ve given us. Please check your eligibility again. Check your eligibility N/A Plain text Replace content below page title
(Application) user is not currently enrolled in a benefit (e.g. not enrolled in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits) You’re not enrolled in this benefit right now It looks like you’re not signed up for this benefit. If you think you’re eligible, you can apply now. (1) Check your eligibility (2) Apply now Plain text N/A Replace content below page title
(Application) user is not a VA patient We can’t give you access to this tool right now We’re sorry. Only patients who’ve received care at a VA facility can use VA.gov health tools. If you’ve received care at a VA medical center, clinic, or Vet center, please call that facility to find out if you’re in their records. Find your VA facility Plain text N/A Replace content below page title

Empty state

Scenario Message title Message content Component Location
(Application) No data tied to the user or scenario No [DATA TYPE (ie, prescription refills or health records)] to show We don’t have any [DATA TYPE] in our system to show here. Plain text Replace content below page title
(Page) no data tied to the user or scenario No [DATA TYPE] to show We don’t have any [DATA TYPE] in our system to show here. Plain text Replace content below page title
(Component) no data tied to the user or scenario No [DATA TYPE] to show We don’t have any [DATA TYPE] for you in our system. Plain text Replace affected component

Feedback messaging

The application’s response when the user is interacting with it. The majority of create, read, update, delete (CRUD) actions will result in feedback messaging.

Note: See Error Messages for guidance on when to consider adding instruction to call the VA.gov help desk or other “next-step” call to action.

Task completion success/failure

Scenario Message title Message content Actions Component State Location
Form save in progress success (inline) Saved We saved the information you’ve entered so far. N/A Alert box Success alert Below affected component
Form save in progress success (exit page) Saved We saved your in-progress form. Remember, you need to finish the form and click “Submit” to apply for this benefit. Continue applying now, or come back later to finish your application. Continue your application Alert box Success alert Below page title
Form save in progress failure (inline) Your form didn’t save We’re sorry. We couldn’t save your form. Please try again. N/A Alert box Error alert Below affected component
Form general error We need you to start over with this application Something’s not working quite right. We’re sorry to make extra work for you, but please try applying again in a few minutes. Start over Alert box Error alert Replace content below page title
Form submission success Submitted We received your form. Thank you. N/A Alert box Error alert Below page title
Form submission failure, can save in progress Please save this application and try again We’re sorry. Your application didn’t go through. We’re working to fix the problem, but it may take us a while. Please save your application, and try again tomorrow. Save your application Alert box Error alert Above page title
Form submission failure, unable to save in progress Please start over with this application We’re sorry. Your application didn’t go through, and you’ll need to start over. We suggest you wait a day while we fix this problem. N/A Alert box Error alert Above page title
Required form field is empty N/A Please enter your [required information]. N/A Inline Error alert N/A
Form field entry is not valid N/A Please enter a valid [address/email address/phone number/city/state]. N/A Inline Error alert N/A
File upload success Uploaded We uploaded your file. Thank you. Dismissible Alert box Success alert Above page title
File upload failure We couldn’t upload your file We’re sorry. We weren’t able to upload your file. Please try again. Dismissible Alert box Error alert Above page title
File download success Downloaded We downloaded your file. Dismissible Alert box Success alert Above page title
File download failure We couldn’t download your file We’re sorry. We weren’t able to download your file. Please try again. Dismissible Alert box Error alert Above page title
Message sent Message sent We sent your message. Thank you. Dismissible Alert Success Above page title
Message failed to send Your message didn’t go through We’re sorry. We couldn’t send your message. Please try again. Dismissible Alert box Error alert Above page title
Creation success File created We created your file. Thank you. Dismissible Alert Success Above page title
Creation failure We couldn’t create your file We’re sorry. We couldn’t create your file. Please try again. Dismissible Alert box Error alert Above page title
Deletion success File deleted We deleted your file. Thank you. Dismissible Alert box Success alert Above page title
Deletion failure We couldn’t delete your file We’re sorry. We couldn’t delete your file. Please try again. Dismissible Alert box Error alert Above page title
Update success File updated We updated your file. Thank you. Dismissible Alert box Success alert Above page title
Update failure We couldn’t update your file We’re sorry. We couldn’t update your file. Please try again. Dismissible Alert box Error alert Above page title

Categories adapted from Salesforce Lightning Design System