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#37 - Types of user errors

Sent the January 26th
Author face
Article written by
Juan Jesús Millo

What is a user error and what types are there?

How many times have you walked down the street and stepped on something you shouldn't have? How many times have you turned off the play instead of suspending or restarting? How many times have you phoned someone you shouldn't have? All these situations are not mistakes you have made, they are slips.

A mistake is something you wanted to do but you don't succeed because it's not the right way, no matter how hard you try, you won't get it, like pushing a door when it tells you to pull it, no matter how hard you push, it will never open.

On the other hand, a slip is when, while performing the task, you don't pay attention to what is necessary and do something you didn't want to do, such as pressing an icon app instead of another on your smartphone, because you know perfectly well where it is, but you are not paying attention to the task itself.

This type of error occurs mostly in expert users, users who know the task perfectly well, but because of their knowledge, they sacrifice performance for attention to the task and slips occur.

How to avoid these mistakes

To avoid this type of error, we must guide the user to the task, minimising errors (it is always better to minimise them in the design phases, rather than communicate them in the form of feedbacks), creating limits in the flow-task, offering auto/suggestions when writing, and formatting the user's inputs to more scannable ones, such as the typical credit card format; if the user is writing the numbers, these are automatically separated, the user will be able to recognise them more quickly, reducing this type of error.

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