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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Warning Labels

This Forbes article provides a list of really amusing warning labels.  From a label on an egg carton stating that the product may contain eggs to the label on a vanishing marker stating that it is advisable not to sign legal documents with the marker, these labels are really entertaining!

So, what can practitioners do to develop meaningful warning messages? This paper provides guidelines for developing warning messages for products. The highlights include: 
  • Use less text
  • Explicitly tell users what to do
  • Use simple words and not technical jargon
  • Use words such as ‘danger’, ‘warning’, and ‘caution’ to signify the hazard level
  • Avoid abbreviations
  • Bullet the steps
  • Use active voice 
  • Use mixed case and not all CAPS
  • Left justify text
  • Orient messages to facilitate reading from left to right

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