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UX Writing Challenge Day Twelve: Create an Account Error

ScenarioA user is creating an account. When they come to the step where they are asked to enter their name, they get an error message. A fraud detection software thinks their name is fake—but it’s wrong 5% of the time.

ChallengeWrite an error message that prompts them to fix the error without shaming them for having a fake-sounding name.

Body: 45 characters max


UX Challenge Solution


Mind reentering your name? We want to confirm.


UX Challenge Scenario Reflection

This scenario was a tricky one. I found myself struggling with the character budget while conveying the message. I didn’t want the onus to be on the user because our tool was flagging them as invalid.

This scenario made me think of the process a jobseeker would encounter when there is a machine weeding through applications. While the tool does an okay job, it’s not great. There is data out there that shows these tools are highly biased and tend to skew towards candidates that are similar to the person who created the algorithm or search perimeters.

What’s the balance? Do we chalk it up to a handful of outliers? I’d rather not. The designer Mike Monteiro does a great job pointing this out in his book Ruined by Design. He uses the example of Facebook and its edge cases. Those edge cases might only be a few percentage points, but that means a ridiculous amount of actual humans who are ignored.