Most accidents are thought to be caused by what is referred to as human error, yet most of them are actually due to design errors rather than errors of human operation.

By definition error is an action or omission of action yielding an unintended result. This is pretty obvious, isn’t it? However, an understanding of the causes of errors suggests specific design strategies that can greatly reduce their frequency and severity.

There are two basic types of errors: slips and mistakes.

Slips are sometimes referred to as errors of action or errors of execution, and occur when an action is not what was intended.

For example, a slip occurs when a person dials a frequently dialed phone number when intending to dial a different number.

Mistakes are sometimes referred to as errors of intention or errors of planning, and occur when an intention is inappropriate.

For example, a mistake occurs when a nurse interprets an alarm incorrectly and then administers the incorrect medicine.

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Dig deeper into this topic of errors, slips and mistakes and let’s learn how to prevent them from happening. Read more here.


Prepared by Martin Tutko
Martin is a Digital Product Designer with 19 years of experience working in UX Design and Digital Marketing industries. He enjoys researching and writing about user experience design, marketing and consumer behaviour. You can follow his writings here.