Posted by Ben Simo
I do not like software that discombobulates users. I find that software error handling and reporting often confuses users more than it helps. Several months back, I created and wrote about a mnemonic of guideword heuristics that I have been using for testing error handling and reporting. I have found this useful in my own testing and have received some positive feedback from others that are using it. I created the following PowerPoint show to help demonstrate how I use the mnemonic. Take a look. It runs for just under seven minutes.
The next time you encounter an error, try the FAILURE heuristic.
- F Does the error detecting, reporting, and handling function as expected?
- A Is the error reported at the appropriate time in an appropriate manner?
- I Is the impact to the user communicated?
- L Is the error appropriately logged? ... or not logged if that is desired?
- U Is the error appropriately reported in the user interface in terms that the user understands?
- R Is the user told how to recover from the error condition?
- E Does the error reporting evoke the desired emotions? Could changes in the error reporting and handling improve the users emotional response?
Merry Christmas, and Happy Testing!