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September 20, 2008

Where Are The User Friendly Errors?

by Matthew

Error Message

One of many things that affects the user experience is not simply how well a device performs but how it gives feedback when it fails. In a perfect world all devices would work as designed 100 percent of the time. Until that day when computers can design, manufacture and program themselves we are left with imperfect humans to do the job and their errors in design, manufacturing and programming. Nokia does better at quality control than most but there will always be room for improvement, even if machines could build themselves.

One particular error "no gateway replay" from the web browser stands out as one such error that could be more helpful. Rather than the typical "Page Not Found" found in browsers such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, the S60 browser displays "no gateway replay" when a URL can't be found. Certainly a plain "Page Not Found" error page could take much memory: a few kilobytes at most and give the user better feedback about the actual problem.

Another error I find perhaps even more annoying is the "message not sent" when sending SMS or MMS fails. Its not the fact the message failed (OK, it is so) but there is absolutely no feedback as to why? Would a message saying invalid phone number be to difficult when too few or too many digits were entered? How about "message refused?" Is it too much to ask to say why it was refused?

Granted Windows and MAC give equally useless and often times confusing error messages. Nokia can take a cue from these OSes how NOT to do it and find a better way. I'd settle for numbered error codes, provided there were an easy to find and comprehensive listing detailing each particular code. Even better, helpful, not vague, suggestions how to resolve the problem. I don't expect a device to be perfect. OK OK I do so, but I'd settle for a little helpful guidance to resolve the problem.

What other error messages have you found that should be more description or helpful?


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Howard Smith

''data packet available'' after completing a voice call on T-Mobile network via unlocked e51. WTF is that and why do I care to know after each and every call!!!

and, not really a user friendly error, but flaw in design. I never intend to make a 'video call' on my phone. I should be able to 'permanently' disable that option, shouldn't I. I don't need nor want to ever see it.

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