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Contingency design

Contingency design is the overcoming and prevention of error scenarios. These are situations in which visitors to the website encounter problems, such as a “404 - Not Found” page.

The idea behind contingency design is that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ site - no matter how thoroughly it is tested. There is always a chance that visitors will encounter problems, either through their own actions, or because of an error on the site. Contingency design offers visitors assistance in solving such problems.

The advantages of attention to contingency design

Paying attention to contingency design reduces the frustration among visitors. A site that offers visitors assistance whenever they encounter a problem will result in greater satisfaction and loyalty among its visitors.

Contingency design guidelines

Some guidelines with which web developers can make it easier for visitors to solve problems they encountered on the site. Read more

Contingency design in practice

A practical application of contingency design in common situations.

Useful error pages

Web servers produce standard pages to report errors to visitors, but web developers can also create their own pages. Read more

Error messages

Useful forms

Containing some tips for drawing up forms that make it easier for the visitor to complete them and prevent a few common error situations. Read more

Search engines and search terms


Web Guidelines version 1.3, November 2007.