I recently came across the below error message
“An exception was thrown by Target of invocation”
What it really means is the application you tried to run has reported an error.
This got me thinking about how software has ignored one of the most important yet frustrating aspects of user experience. Easy to understand and clear Error messages. So why is this important? Well for one I am a technical guy and I would actually be able to troubleshoot most common issues myself if I could just understand the error message. Complicated hexcodes and nonsensical wording that even a PhD in linguistics might find daunting doesn’t really enhance the user experience.
If I was not a technical person it would still give me more information in terms of what I need to do e.g. contact support, take it in for a repair since it can’t be fixed over the phone, it’s a software issue and not hardware. E.g. If the message said the hard disk is damaged it would probably give me an idea that it’s because I dropped the laptop yesterday. A simple wording for the error message and install instructions could really cut down on the number of people required to enable support services. Granted sophisticated wording might sound good in a design meeting or while presenting to other developers in the company but it’s a pain when you see it while trying to access your email.
Granted the error message comes from a machine but giving it a personality or at least wording that indicates you genuinely want to help fix the error might go a long way in increasing the customer experience and the bottom line. Don’t you enjoy the odd funny 404 Error that crops up on certain websites.
The same thing goes for all other aspects of application development. e.g comments in your code. I have come across so many procedures and application code where the comments are partically useless.
The problem is the developer is very rarely the end user and what makes sense to a developer doesn’t make sense to the end user. Technical jargon is not just limited to software by the way. Have you ever read a Licence agreement or Terms and Conditions page of a website.
Here is the terms and conditions page on our website , it keeps in line with our core value of “Simpler is Better”.
Would you believe our sincerity in trying to achieve the best results just reading this than a 20 page agreement? But what about legal you say? Well if things ever get to legal we hope the judge would use the same principles and word of the law (again based on the same principles) to deliver the ruling.
Terms and Conditions
We will do what’s in our clients best interest at all times
The way we work
We will not break any laws on purpose nor encourage anybody who does. We will strive always to deliver the best results. Common sense and moral ethics will guide us in our efforts to make sure we remain true to our values and live up to our clients expectations. If mistake happens we will take responsibility for our actions and make every effort within reasonable limits to correct them.
We believe old fashioned code of ethics like honesty, integrity and good judgment are more important to doing good business than Legal jargon that complicate relationships and blur the ethical lines.