Friday, November 4, 2011

Error Message Fetish

Well-designed applications take user error into consideration. As a Product Manager, I often try to use applications in unusual ways to see if/how they bend and identify where they break. I'm always impressed when I encounter well-crafted, helpful messages resulting from the break scenarios.

On occasion, I'm highly amused by them too. Many consumer-facing companies deal with errors and failures in a humorous manner. So long as it's a non-critical failure, I'm OK with that.

I just encountered one such message today while attempting to reset my password on Delicious.com.



The fact that they don't offer real-time validation of password matching would normally annoy me. But because the error message was at least somewhat funny, it took the annoyance factor away.

Not all of us have the liberty to inject humor into our applications. The enterprise customers I deal with don't have much of a sense of humor when their expensive solutions don't run like clockwork. However, used wisely, humor can turn an otherwise frustrating experience into a moment of mirth.