Usability: Error Messages

Ian Lurie

I just went onto the American Express web site to buy something using my points. The shopping experience was great, right up until I tried to complete my purchase. Then I got a screen that looked like this:

lousy amex error message

Really helpful, guys. Thanks.

At that point, I gave up. I’ll have to call them, taking up their time and mine.

When you build a shopping site, make sure your error messages make sense. That will immediately vault you into the top 5% of all web sites.

Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/ianlurie.

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