So you’re sat there playing a game, about to pull off some spectacular moves and own some noobs when your game freezes, you fall through the floor and you are dumped back into the reality of the Windows Desktop. Quietly muttering some choice words about computers you discover a fantastic error message, informing you that ‘something went wrong’… Well, thanks error message, without your thoughtful take on everything I would have presumed to have teleported into a map that looks suspiciously like my desktop!
These error messages are becoming more and more common, and yes I fully understand that the alternative is the blue screen of death, which is equally unhelpful, but if you’re going to go to the effort of handling errors correctly without breaking everything why waste all that effort by just telling the user that something went wrong. How about, something went wrong and here is what it was?
If it’s that important to try and hide the gory details of an error from the average user have a nice button called technical details. Average Joe isn’t going to click that, he still thinks an illegal operation involves the police.
How about some form of standard for displaying error messages? Maybe code red, yellow and green? Easy to understand for everyone.
Got any more examples of useless error messages?