Managing disappointments

Getting an error message of any sort from any system is not something the users are likely to forgive. A blank page with no results is as irritating. Even if the fault lies with the user action or wrong expectations.

Recently I was searching Gmail app for a specific mail on my iPhone. And I had lost 3G connection due to my location (I was travelling through a network-dead zone or something). What I had asked for required the app to connect to the gmail server and the locally stored data was of no use. Instead of shoing me a stern “Network Error” message on a red band, the app did something nice. It threw up this sad cloud icon saying there were no offline messages.


At once I realised what had happened and I switched to settings to see if I could get the connection back. The cute cloud-face sure stopped me from getting upset. This is very thoughtful of whoever created this error message at Google.

Somehow, graphic designers don’t seem to be sensitive about human computer interactions. Here is the proof of how they see 404 Error messages  as opportunity to do something cool and creative instead of creating meaningful and less irritating experience.

There is nothing cool about many of them and none of them, except a few, provide a way out to a solution. My worry is that many of these designers are out there in the mobile UI design space. I just hope that they put themselves in the shoes of the users before they think up any thing cool.


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