Design Patterns for Errorproofing

Persuasive technologies are those which are designed to change the attitudes or behaviours of users. Errorproofing, on the otherhand, is concerned not with behavioural change, but in ensuring certain behaviours are met.

Errorproof technologies, then, are those which “[make] it easier for users to work without making errors, or [that make] errors impossible in the first place”.

Dan Lockton of the excellent Design with Intent compiles a list of eight design patterns for errorproofing a system:

  • Defaults
  • Interlocks
  • Lock-in/out
  • Extra steps
  • Specialised affordances
  • Partial self-correction
  • Portions
  • Conditional warnings

2 thoughts on “Design Patterns for Errorproofing

  1. philwells

    Interesting. I like a good design article that doesn’t necessarily show me any new things, but makes me look at old things in new ways.


  2. Lloyd Morgan Post author

    Hi Phil,

    This is exactly what I felt when reading Donald Norman’s The Psychology/Design of Everyday Things; I suddenly found myself looking at everyday objects (such as doors and microwaves) in a whole new light. Recommended reading (it’s fairly old so any local should stock it, I’m sure).


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