Thursday, 20 November 2014

Strange error messages

I got the following error the other day, while working in a web-based tool.
It seems that the developers of this application did not foresee my actions and my 'inappropriate' use of the tool, hence did not do anything to help the me understand what went wrong when presenting the error mesage. From my perspective the message might as well have been – Website exploded! Have a nice day!
This experience made me think of an excellent blog post I read a while back on doing meaningful error messages to the user. It was written by Ben Rowe, who advocates for the use of the 4H’s when communicating with the user: Human, Helpful, Humorous & Humble – Check it out it is very informative:
Next time you encounter a message like the one I saw, then include a link to the 4H's blog post in the defect report you file, to help getting understandable error messages to the users.
Happy Testing!

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