Error Messages Matter

Error messages are one of the most often overlooked elements of the user experience in application development. It can be really difficult to spend time on good messaging when deadlines are fast approaching, but their impact on the rest of the support team can be immense. Often, the cost for running support centers far outweighs the development cost, but those budgets are rarely linked.

Good error messaging is often a reflection of how well an app is architected as well. A focus on messaging means there is a focus on bug tracking and the full development process. Sometimes it is impossible for an error message to provide more information, and this may be a reflection of iOS8 limitations, but this message is even missing which application is causing the error in the first place. This is a basic need for an end user to attempt fixing the problem on their own, that I’d categorize this as a big issue. It also doesn’t tell us which item was unable to be downloaded. This seems like it knows which item it is, but for some reason doesn’t help us debug the issue ourselves. A few tweaks can mean a huge reduction in support costs when you enable users to solve things on their own.

iOS error message

Letting users know something is wrong is important, lacking specifics can make it worse. This message pops up a couple times per day and I can only guess it is iTunes Match causing the problem.

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