A shared frustration among pretty much all software designers is how to communicate important issues to users when they simply refuse to read even the shortest amount of text.
The short and sweet of my scenario, is that one feature of my software is that it can generate a configuration file for another piece of software (To let the user use its UI to build the configuration file instead of writing it out by hand). If a configuration file already exists there, it is overwritten.
In some cases the user may have their own configuration file there, so before the user is allowed to turn this feature on - a full-screen modal popup is displayed with the words "Data overwrite warning!" in massive bold letters and a huge warning triangle. Followed by a marginally more detailed explanation saying that the data will be permanently overwritten and will not be saved.
It's extremely hard to miss, and the user has to acknowledge the dialog before they are allowed to continue.
Yet still, I get a number of users (who speak perfectly competent English) complain that they didn't know the data was going to be overwritten. When quizzed about why they didn't read the notice they usually say they just accepted it without reading it at all.
My other example of this issue is on one page of my wiki - http://wiki.phonicuk.com/Common-McMyAdmin-Problems.ashx#Startup_Stall__Server_has_started_but_is_not_yet_accepting_players_2
The red text can’t be missed to the point that it's really hard not to read it. Yet still some users refuse to do it, despite communicating with no ambiguity that it is an absolute requirement.
Why does this happen, and what can I do about it?