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Activity Feed

The Activity Feed is an event-based timeline meant to keep the user informed of activity within the application. The Activity Feed is grouped by days with the most recent activity at the top. Each event is tied to a source that caused the event to occur. Sources include transactions, users, and services.


Badges are non-interactive, visual indicators used to capture the user’s attention.

Confirmation Messages

Confirmation messages let the user know that they have successfully completed a task.

See the Pen Confirmation Messages by Harmony Design (@harmonydesign) on CodePen.

Critical Alerts

Critical alerts are system-generated messages that warn of situations with serious consequences unless action is taken. Examples include: loss of data, loss of access to data.


Real-time error validation occurs while the user is completing a form (examples: using the wrong characters in a numerical field, leaving a required field blank, etc.). The error validation occurs either when the user has stopped typing within the input field, or when the user has clicked or tabbed away from the field or control.

Server-side error validation occurs after a form has been submitted. If an error is detected, the form refreshes and depending on conditions, is either displayed inline, or as a page-level message that cannot be dismissed plus inline callouts.

Asynchronous Errors are detected some time after the related interaction (examples: an email bounced back due to a delivery error, some aspect of the transaction failed permanently, etc.). This type of error is displayed globally as the user may be in a different section of the application when the error is detected.

  • Created by
  • Last modified September 14, 2016 by Marni


Guidance Tooltips provide contextual help throughout the application.


Help is always available from the Global Header or the Trowser header, and provides contextual quick access to screen-specific topics. Users can also search for specific help content, open one of the available topics, or access other support options.

Helpful Links

Links can sometimes be used to provide clarity in context with the current user task.

Info Links are linked words or terms that deliver quick clarification via a tooltip. Content should be brief and useful in context.

Help Links open a help topic or new page with more content than would fit in a tooltip.  They provide answers to more complex questions. For example, the linked phrase “How do I create an invoice?” opens up a help topic that explains how to create an invoice, and the differences between the transaction types. Or the linked phrase “Help me choose” next to product options could link to a marketing page that explains all of the product SKUs, prices and features so the user has enough information to buy the correct product.

Information Messages

Information messaging is a suggested action/service/data that users might find helpful, but isn’t a business logic blocker or critical to their experience. They can be vertically stacked and combined with other message types.

Lazy Loading

Lazy Loading is a method of loading more content in a container as soon as the user scrolls to the bottom of it.

Progress Indicators

A Progress Indicator communicates to the user that a time consuming operation, roughly one second or longer, is taking place.

Task Messaging

What is a Task message?

A Task message is a specific type of message that tells users they need to do something and provides a link to take action. This framework will help you figure out if your message is a task message, and also how to write and design it.

  • Not all messages to users are tasks, and not all types of messages belong in the Task List or in an in-page task message.
  • If your message is real-time feedback based on user input or a response to a user action, or an in-line message to users, it isn’t a task message.
  • If your message is recommending, promoting or selling something, it’s not a task message.

There are examples of task messages in the section Appearance & Behavior. If your message isn’t a task, please review this table for other Communication and Discovery patterns that may work for you.

 Communication Type

Recommended pattern

 Discovery (FTU or IPD)
Task Messages
 Help or guidance
 Real-time errrors, warnings, confirmations
 Informational (no associated action)
  • See Discovery governance
Email, text, or push notifications
  • To be added
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  • Last modified April 8, 2016 by Stella Zubeck


Tooltips contain brief messages that appear in response to a user action.

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