I'm fascinated by the usability decisions of the web giants. With their volumes of users, effects of even the tiniest change can become the stuff of usability buzz. But sometimes their messaging has me scratching my head, wondering if the total lack of useful information must be deliberate. Perhaps it is purposely devoid of helpfulness as a way to brush users off without making them irate: "Oh, I got Error Code 15? Well, what are you gonna do..."
Today Gmail ran into an issue while I was checking mail, and offered me a closer look at the problem:
I'm technical. I like detailed info. What the heck, let's try that Show Detailed Technical Info link...
Gee, thanks, Google. Thoughtful of you to let me hide Numeric Code: 7 again, too.
Maybe Google should take some cues from the Yahoo experience. Here's an "unexpected, temporary problem" that I "stumbled upon" while using Yahoo Mail this morning:
The problem did persist, so I contacted support about Error Code 15, but then Yahoo wasn't sure if they really wanted to hear about it:
I decided on not letting them know. A couple hours later, I tried again, and found myself much further along:
Well, I've gotten from Error Code 15 to Temporary error: 14. But at least it's only temporary.