User Experience is not only about design and beautiful images. There is so much more to it. The core is to help the end user to feel at ease using the application. Error messages is something you want to prevent as much as possible. This can be done through good interfaces, good and helpful flows so the user knows what to do, etceteras. But still then, a user can make an error. I came across a few examples of very bad messages where the user is left in the dark what to do.
This example comes from a website with a forms interface. Once submitted the website gave this error:
What do you expect the user to do? Count the characters? And why 2497? In this case it’s also a bug in the app, as there were only a few characters in the textbox. But I’ve seen users really get annoyed (to say at least) by this error.
Another nice one was in the Lync client. What to expect from this one?
What happens when you click Yes – or No?
Localization is also an issue with messages. Of course there are ‘tricks’ to use tools like web translators. But these are not always that accurate as is shown in this message (yes, you have to understand Dutch for this).
So, make sure you always pay attention to good describing messages.