Error Messages We’d Rather Not See

Uh, thanks for the heads-up.

Reminds me of a presentation at Interact 2001, where the laptop suddenly interrupted proceedings with that legendary message, “Your computer is now fully charged”. The presentation was about user attention, I kid you not.

And, by way of contrast, how to write good error messages: tell the user what happened, explain the consequences if it’s not obvious, outline how to fix it, explain what to do if they can’t fix it.

One thought on “Error Messages We’d Rather Not See

  1. ‘Your computer is now fully charged’. Working frequently in committee meetings (when it initially is a source of amusement quickly becoming a boring irritation), or worse still in a purposely silent environment, such as a library, the dreaded ‘voice’ is unwelcome and antisocial to say the least. Does anyone know how to turn that irritating and disruptive message off? Muting the speakers doesn’t help, perhaps plugging in a speaker jack without an attached lead might work ; but why carry around more stuff than necessary when using a laptop designed to make computer use on the move a lightweight process? Help!

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Error Messages We’d Rather Not See

Uh, thanks for the heads-up.

Reminds me of a presentation at Interact 2001, where the laptop suddenly interrupted proceedings with that legendary message, “Your computer is now fully charged”. The presentation was about user attention, I kid you not.

And, by way of contrast, how to write good error messages: tell the user what happened, explain the consequences if it’s not obvious, outline how to fix it, explain what to do if they can’t fix it.

0 thoughts on Error Messages We’d Rather Not See

  1. ‘Your computer is now fully charged’. Working frequently in committee meetings (when it initially is a source of amusement quickly becoming a boring irritation), or worse still in a purposely silent environment, such as a library, the dreaded ‘voice’ is unwelcome and antisocial to say the least. Does anyone know how to turn that irritating and disruptive message off? Muting the speakers doesn’t help, perhaps plugging in a speaker jack without an attached lead might work ; but why carry around more stuff than necessary when using a laptop designed to make computer use on the move a lightweight process? Help!

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