Crafting user-friendly error messages

My product team at Edward Jones is building a new financial planning software. This effort involves creating a tool for branch teams to migrate data from our old system to our new one.

Note: Some details and images are not included or have been redacted for privacy reasons


December 2022 - April 2023 (in progress)


UX content strategist (me), UX designer, product owner, business analyst, developers


Mural, Figma, Zeplin

The problem

We identified errors coming from the API. I was tasked with writing messages for our error states.

How might we communicate system errors to users and ensure they are aware of what to do next?

Original copy one of our developers wrote


Writing error messages that include what happened, why it happened and what to do next will make the data migration less confusing for branch teams if something goes wrong with our system.

We’ll know this is true when we see branch teams taking the appropriate next steps.

What I did

Copy explorations I drafted; UX designer used as a reference for initial wires

One of the prototypes we created; the buttons and Details box are still in flux 


This work is still in progress, but we’ve got a good prototype in the works. This design was also validated against our design system.

Next step would be to work with our product team and service department next sprint to see if it would be possible to include the buttons and Details box and identify any additional requirements.

Once we’ve got an approved solution, we’ll work with our UX researcher to test it and iterate based on user feedback.