Why aren’t Apple’s error messages written by marketers?
This morning as I was updating my iPhone, I received the following error message in iTunes:
User Interface design, like website optimization, is all about removing friction for your end users, and I was offended by a number of Apple’s choices on this screen:
- An “unknown error”? That’s like a doctor telling you that you’re the FIRST person they’ve ever seen with a certain symptom.
- I was trying to upgrade, not “restore” my iPhone. I realize this is part of the process but this is confusing to end users.
- The error box offers no resolution path. This is a lost opportunity, with no guidance despite “Unknown Error 1604” being a well known, resolvable issue.
From a user-interface perspective, this process could be greatly improved with something like the following:
With this new, friendly error box we’ve:
- Calmly announced that a small issue, with a known resolution occurred.
- Eliminated specific error language that may confuse users.
- Created direct, next-step actions for users to resolve their problem.
These simple changes provide users with positive reinforcement, clarity, and a call to action that’s sure to lead to a higher resolution rate.
Why aren’t software error messages written from a user-interface perspective?
What am I missing?
PS – If you too have had trouble with Error 1604 you can find the link to the fix on this page http://support.apple.com/kb/ts1275
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