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Information Technology Exception Messages: A Proposed Set of Information Elements and Format for Consistency and Informativeness

Information Technology Exception Messages: A Proposed Set of Information Elements and Format for Consistency and Informativeness
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Author(s): T. S. Amer (Northern Arizona University, USA) and Jo-Mae B. Maris (Northern Arizona University, USA)
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 14
Source title: Human Interaction with Technology for Working, Communicating, and Learning: Advancements
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Anabela Mesquita (ISCAP/IPP and Algoritmi Centre, University of Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-465-9.ch012

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Abstract

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.

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