Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Worst UI Ever? Error Messages Part 2

I can't take credit for finding this one but it is a great example of how not to treat the user. I won't bother to repeat all my thoughts here but you can read them in the comments of the original blog.

However, I will take a moment to summarize what should be a global philosophy for anyone creating software. Here it is:

"Software is a tool to be used by humans to accomplish something. It is NOT a tool used by computers to accomplish something."

When you step back and think about it, it seems obvious. I buy and use software because I need to accomplish something (editing photos, paying bills, communicating with friends) in a way that is easier than the way I used to do it. The last thing I want is to feel like I am driven by what the software wants from me.

If a person said, "write your phone number down for me" and I wrote 555.555.5555, (555) 5555555 or 555 555-5555 then they would have no problem understanding that. If they said to me that when they think of phone numbers, they think of the format (555) 555-5555 and then asked me to write it in that format I would laugh and not expect to actually have to do it. I don't think it is asking too much of the software developer to implement that kind of logic. Some human-like logic is hard to implement obviously but some isn't. An when it is done, it can have a huge impact on the opinion a user will have of your software.


Anonymous said...

I get a 404 when I hit the link.

Unknown said...



TJ Downes said...

lol, classic

Rob McKeown said...

I fixed the link. Sorry about that