UX IRL – Groupon’s Generic Error Messages

In UX by Matthias0 Comments

Tut tut tut Groupon, I expected better from you.

I was trying to buy two coupons to go whale watching for my upcoming trip to New York when I was presented with this at the checkout screen…

Groupon generic error message

Shame.

Something had gone wrong. Was my credit card maxed out? Where my details correct? Were they out of whales to be watched?

I always love a good detective story, but not when there are only 5 minutes left to buy the voucher. After going full-Sherlock I found out that there was a limit of 1 coupon per person and I had already bought the first one – something which could have easily been pointed out in the error message.

But a generic error message like the above will always leave the user scratching his head over what went wrong. It’s not enough to notify a user of a problem, you also need to offer guidance on how to fix it. Even though some people will try and figure it out, many will just abandon the process altogether.

So don’t let your conversion rates take an unnecessary hit – always be clear and helpful, and never leave any doubt in the user’s mind as to what the next step is.


The UX In Real Life series is a collection of UX struggles and triumphs which I have faced while going about my days.


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