by Mike Masnick

So Sorry For This Blue Screen Of Death, Please Forgive Me

from the PC-load-letter?!? dept

A new study has found that people take error messages personally, as if they had done something wrong. The study found that users felt much better when the error messages were apologetic, admitting that the error was the computer's fault. The study involved what sounds like an incredibly annoying trivia game, but some people got apologies from the game for bad information, while others just got the always friendly "that is incorrect!" message. Those who received the apologies felt the game was more fun. Amusingly, the article quotes someone from Microsoft agreeing with the study. I can't remember the last time I've received a Microsoft error message that made any sense whatsoever. The article also includes quotes from someone from iRobot (the company that makes the Roomba, not the movie) who points out that if an error message shows up too often, it will just piss people off no matter how apologetic it is. Instead, he suggests that error messages let the user type out their frustration (such as: "PC Load Letter?! What the f*ck does that mean??") and have the system use artificial intelligence to respond. Of course, knowing the state of AI these days, the response is only likely to anger the user more right now.

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  • identicon
    Hieronymus Coward, 19 Jul 2004 @ 10:48am

    Friendly Error Messages

    I like the AI in error messages idea. It was 1977 and I was programming on DECSYSTEM 1031. I think it was running TOPS20. I was frustated and typed "F*ck you!" at the command prompt. The response was "Tough sh*t *ss hole." It made me laugh.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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