Information technology exception messages: A Proposed set of information elements and format for consistency and informativeness

T S Amer, Jo Mae B Maris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Users of information technology (IT) frequently encounter "exception messages" during their interactions with computing systems. Exception messages are important points of communication with users of IT and are similar in principle to compliance and warning messages that appear on consumer products and equipment (e.g., cigarettes, power tools, etc.), in various environments (e.g., around machinery), and on chemicals. This study reviews the normative elements and information that are included in product, chemical, and environment compliance and warning messages and combines these with recommendations in the IT literature to propose that five elements and information should be included in IT exception messages with a standard format. It is argued that including these elements in the proposed format will improve the consistency and effectiveness of exception messages. Also reported are the results of an investigation of a sample of actual exception messages to determine their degree of conformity with the proposed elements. Results indicate that IT exception messages lack descriptive content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-68
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Human Interaction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010



  • Error messages
  • Exception messages
  • Graphical user interface
  • Interface characteristics
  • Warnings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Information Systems

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