user experience

error messages that speak to me


I love websites that speak with a human voice, as the ClueTrain Manifesto says:

[we] communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked.

I love even more error messages like this one that make it ever so clear that there are people behind this website – both through the voice and explicitly.

There’s an interesting conversation to be had around the importance of copywriting (which is one of the things that 37 Signals particularly mention in their Getting Real methodology… surprised me). Sometimes, if you have a programmer who has a knack with words, you get these little quirky messages.

Kind of like Flickr’s error message:

Flickr Error Msg

It’s human, it’s friendly, its reassuring.

Actually, its another thing that the 37 Signals guys talk about that makes a lot of sense – consciously designing for three states, one of which is ‘broken state’ (my term, not theirs).

Why is BlogBeat having errors?

Well, it looks as though they’re doing a bit of a redesign.

I wish I had as many nice things to say about that…

Same old disaster, slightly different colours.

Blogbeat Redesign

Guys, please. Find yourself someone with some Information Architecture and User Experience/Interaction Design skills (optional visual design talent).

Just for a week or two.
It will make *so* much difference.

Note: I think I must be getting towards the end of my 1 month free trial of Blogbeat. I have to say, the user experience is still really off putting… to the extent that it would disincline me to signing up and paying cash money. On the upside, Blogbeat stats update much more quickly and reliably than Google Analytics has been lately. And I like the features that are blog specific – knowing what posts people have looked at, and where they’ve come from. Simple, but good. And not the kind of transparency I can get easily from Analytics.

Its a quandry.

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4 thoughts on “error messages that speak to me

  1. so you’re turning the corner on Blogbeat ? :)

    Admittedly Blogbeat is not the best looking website you’ll ever use. But it works. It gives you what you need, and happily I might add.

    Think of it like a pug or bull terrier…. Slobbering, smelly, overly excited. But aiming to please.

    c’mon. you don’t hate pugs, do you??

  2. oh yay! here’s one of those people behind the software I was talking about!

    so, Jeff. Tell us…
    What’s the strategy re: user experience?
    When is blogbeat going to become a butterfly?
    Surely you don’t subscribe that that ‘ugly interfaces work’ theory that Scoble has been propogating lately?

    I’ll do you some great wireframes that will be easy to implement and will make Blogbeat the excellent user experience it should be.

    My fees are v. reasonable :)

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