Stop Blaming Your Users for Making Mistakes | by Eric Chung | Jun, 2023

Blaming users can seriously mess up the user experience and negatively impact the success of your product. So it’s important to understand why we should take a more constructive approach to error handling.

Nobody likes feeling responsible for screw-ups, right? It makes users feel inadequate and incompetent.

An example of a bad error message.
(Source: CXL)

And that’s not good for their overall satisfaction or willingness to stick around. They’ll get discouraged, and might even say goodbye to your product.

In fact, 13% of users abandon their carts during checkout due to errors on the website and 18% due to users not trusting the site.

A bar chart outlining Reasons for Abandonments During Checkout.
(Source: Baymard Institute)

Blaming users can also wreck their confidence and trust. When they constantly get blamed for mistakes, it’s like a punch in the gut to their own ability to navigate the product successfully.

And you know what that leads to?

Users becoming cautious and hesitant to interact with the product. Less engagement, less satisfaction. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Errors are golden opportunities for users to learn and level up their skills. But guess what happens when we blame them instead of supporting and guiding them?

We kill that learning opportunity like a bug. Users struggle to develop proficiency, keep making the same mistakes, and can’t effectively use all the fancy features your product has to offer.

And blaming users doesn’t just impact them — it’s bad for business too. When users consistently get blamed, it tarnishes your company’s reputation.

They’ll spread the word about their negative experiences, and that’s not going to attract new customers. This translates to more detractors among your customers when calculating NPS score.

A graphic showing how to calculate Net Promoter Score (NPS).
(Source: User Pilot)

It also discourages them from giving feedback or reporting errors. You’re missing out on valuable insights that could help you improve.

So, now that we know the consequences of blaming users, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. We gotta shift our mindset and create a supportive and constructive environment.

It’s all about delivering positive user experiences, building trust, keeping users engaged, and constantly learning and improving.

What do you think?

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