How it works

If you’ve recently made an error, or have created a clever resilience strategy to prevent one, then share it with Errordiary! Have a look at the errors that have already been reported – you can select your favourites and comment on them.

There are three basic parts to Errordiary:

  1. A human error stream where people share the errors that they make and come across on a daily basis. This stream is open to the public where anyone can browse, comment on and favourite posts. The stream is labelled #errordiary as this was the original label that people used to share and collate these sorts of posts.
  2. A resilience strategies stream where people share the resilience strategies that they create and come across on a daily basis. Similar to the one above it is open to the public where anyone can browse, comment on and favourite posts. The stream is labelled #rsdiary as this was the original label that people used to share and collate these sorts of posts.
  3. The ‘Discovery Zone’ contains stories, video, photos, research, teaching materials, games, news clippings, competitions and a discussion forum. Browse whatever takes your fancy.

There are two ways of sharing posts on Errordiary:

Sharing using the website

To share an error that you have made or resilience strategy that you have created using the website simply register an account, log-in and create a post! Remember to select #errordiary if it’s about an error, or #rsdiary if it is about a resilience strategy.

Sharing using Twitter

To share an error that you have made using twitter, just add #errordiary to your tweet. Similarly, to share a resilience strategy just add #rsdiary to your tweet instead.

  1. Write a tweet describing your error or resilience strategy. Try to include enough information so that somebody who may have done a similar thing can understand it.
  2. Add #errordiary or #rsdiary to your tweet!
  3. New tweets will be added to Errordiary. However, it may take up to an hour for your error to be shown.

Creating a twitter account

Go to, enter a user name and password, enter text into a box and click tweet. That’s the basics covered. Since errors often happen on the move, many of our regular contributors use a twitter smartphone application. If you want to start contributing to Errordiary regularly, you might want to consider creating a dedicated twitter account. This helps preserve anonymity, in case you don’t want your friends or colleagues finding out about all those errors you make. However, please remember: “Better to trust the man who is frequently in error than the one who is never in doubt” (Eric Sevareid).

Browsing Errordiary

Errordiary gives each error a unique reference number. You can use this number when making comments, i.e., “hey! this error is similar to the one I made, see number 101”. Each individual error can be commented on by clicking the speech bubble and discussion is encouraged. You can vote for your favourite errors by clicking the star. If other people agree, errors will appear on the errordiary leader-board.

Teaching and training

Human error should not be a taboo subject but something that people can learn from and be sensitive to, to make the system safer. We are particularly interested in the causes of error because these can often be controlled and reduced. Also, by recognising threats people can develop resilience strategies to reduce the likelihood of error in the future. See the #rsdiary tab for examples. We have given some advice about teaching and training on the ‘Teaching’ tab – we’d love feedback on this and would like to share other examples of how this is being used in teaching and training so other’s can benefit too.

Public Engagement

Errordiary is designed to raise the level of debate around human error internationally. Too often human error is cited as a cause for an accident and someone is used as a scapegoat to appease the people who have suffered and to show that action has been taken. Sometimes the system or design needs to change rather than the people. With Errordiary we see the same psychological principles behind funny everyday errors and errors that lead to harm and fatalities. Errordiary examples and screenshots can be used encourage debate: e.g. on whether errors are ‘normal’; on how we can best learn from errors as individuals, organisations and society; and on what contributes to an error. For example, at the UCL Interaction Centre we plan to have an errordiary wall at an open day with printouts of the website’s pages so people can read them and put up Post It notes of their own errors.


Human error can be a difficult subject to broach. By talking about accidents you could scare people and start to make them act defensively or think “It’ll never happen to me!” By sharing everyday examples from Errordiary we have found that people open up and relate to these errors in their own lives. Whether it be pouring orange juice on your cereal rather than into a glass or getting into the bath with your socks on people will relate to these examples and might even laugh if you use funny ones. This builds acceptance that errors are ‘normal’ and that we need to be sensitive to them. We have found this to be successful before talking about errors in practice, poor design that might provoke errors and the need to recognise resilient strategies so that we can see how errors are avoided in the system.

Please send comments and feedback to Dr Dominic Furniss: