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301

The reason I believe it is important to have an apologetic tone is to ensure you are communicating to the user that, though a mistake has been made and he is interacting with a machine or application in this case, you still respect his action and are humanizing the mistake. To quote this article from UXMatters: “You’re going to display your error ...


78

While Mervin's answer is excellent, I would go beyond saying it is "acceptable" or "preferred". I would say you "must" use an apologetic tone for one very good reason: if the user is making a mistake, it is because the user does not understand the rules or logic of the system. That is not the fault of the user! It is responsibility of the system to ...


42

Taking a step back: Why was this feature made available (visible) to the user in the first place? If it is a feature not available to a specific user (or user class), hide it. If it is a premium feature that you'd like to upsell - do so. History export is a great way to backup your data, but is available on premium accounts only. Get in touch with ...


40

Buyer's remorse is a defensive mechanism broadly associated with cognitive dissonance. You'd typically expect to find it where a purchaser had misgivings about their purchase for some reason - either they had difficulty choosing between multiple options, or they weren't sure about some other aspect (the trustworthiness of the seller, the necessity for the ...


32

Progressive disclosure Deferring advanced features to a secondary screen is one of the best ways to satisfy the conflicting requirements of power and simplicity. This is called progressive disclosure. You seem to be aware of this. Intimidating users An example of progressive disclosure is a search box. The search box typically contains a link to an ...


32

Sometimes things exist not because they still make sense, but because their presence is an affordance -- i.e. it works not because it's good, but because the visitor understands what it is, what it does, and how to use it, because they've been inculcated over years with this knowledge. The "I'm Feeling Lucky" button is a grand example of this, because as ...


29

This is something that you have to be careful with, because you don't know what your users' state of mind is when your application is crashing. As always, it really depends on what kind of application you're writing, and how serious your users are likely to be about it. In the case of something like Google Chrome (as @Josh's answer contains), it's hard to ...


26

It's an interesting question, but not one that has to be dealt with directly. You should allow people to delete their information / accounts at any time. Passwords can be reset if you have access to an email account, and so as long as loved ones can gain access to the email account, this is not something that you have to deal with directly. Email access ...


24

Many applications display humorous crash messages (see Chrome's "He's dead, Jim!"). The key here is that the application also provide means to the user to recover the application to some degree (reloading the page, learning more about errors, or sending feedback to Chrome). The ability for the user to do something about the crash, in addition to the ...


23

Yes, error messages should apologize whenever it's remotely plausible to do so. People will ascribe human emotions to computers, so the computers should be as polite as possible, regardless of whether they're actually at fault. A chapter "Bringing Affect to Human Computer Interaction" has a section on apologetic feedback: Nielsen (1998) argued that ...


22

I don't find apologies very humanizing from a computer, any more than an automated hold system for a phone network makes me feel like my call is important by saying, "Your call is very important to us! Please stay on the line for the next available representative." I don't think the apologies are the main issue here. Far more important is that they are ...


21

One possible approach is to embrace the fact that the users aren't going to be completely objective while voting. And so you could try using a more explicit voting system, ie. more choices and more specific than the generic "like/dislike"-"upvote/downvote" pattern. The perfect example for this is BuzzFeed's rating system: Update: Another alternative is ...


18

Interestingly, the button costs google up to $110 million per year. In 2007, Google search boss Marissa Mayer estimated that 1% of all Google searches go through the I'm Feeling Lucky button – skipping Google's search results pages entirely. That meant that Google showed ZERO ads (and therefore got ZERO ad clicks) on 1% of all Google search queries. ...


13

The only place where I've seen something similar is with Facebook's Memorialization Request where the Memorialization where users themselves need to report the demised providing proof of death (Unless the user becomes a Zombie and acts on his own behalf). This Time Article (dated Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009) says: (Read: "How to Manage Your Online Life ...


13

Be natural, this can be annoying if you're apologizing too often, write your message in plain language—like a human talking to another human. If error is caused by you (your app, your server e.t.c.) add apology, otherwise leave just statement of fact and how to resolve the issue. For example: "Sorry, we couldn't send your message because of [some] ...


12

Yes, but I am not sure that execution works for me. You put up a signpost, easily ignored, at the front. Then they get in and will make a change and forget the sign. I like the use of humor, but generally I use it closer to action that was dangerous. Additionally, it shouldn't just be text. Find a way to make the user THINK. Too many errors happen ...


11

Sometimes your users and frustrated but they don't know how to express it or they're too polite to do so. Their expression might show that they found that form annoying, even if they tell you it's great! In addition the "major" facial expressions have been found to be largely innate and not bound to cultures, in fact many animals display similar facial ...


9

In general, negative reinforcement like scaring users should be considered a bad idea. Theories on Advertisement and Product Design (outside of Halloween) have found using such tactics to usually backfire and is even cited from campaigns around WWI by advertising experts of the era like Claude Hopkins (cite: My Life in Advertising). In my own experience, I ...


9

Two examples from Dutch communities: both Tweakers and Partyflock make it possible for friends or relatives to send and e-mail requesting to memorialize profiles. Both websites request a form of proof, such as an obituary or memorial card, to prevent pranks. Tweakers and Partyflock both have an index of memorialized profiles. Tweakers adds a ✝ symbol (with ...


8

People build emotional ties to almost any interface that they have spent a lot of time using. Just take a look at people's reactions to almost any change of interface on Facebook or Gmail. I don't think there are any design factors that make emotional links, like cute buttons or happy colours, though. It's simply about people having invested time into an ...


7

After thinking about this question for the last couple months and reading some related literature (Stephen P. Anderson's Seductive Interaction Design in particular), I've decided that the continuing existence of the button is likely due to a combination of three factors: Branding - As @RachelKeslensky writes in her answer: keeping the button says "Yes, ...


7

I believe two rule-of-the-thumbs can be applied in most cases: If the user made a mistake, don't apologize for its mistake. Rather instruct how to avoid/correct the problem next or in the future. Provide help resources if possible/applicable. If the problem was caused by the program, make a simple apology for the inconvenience out of courtesy, but it's ...


7

If you can design for emotions, you can design for which type of emotions you’d like to have. Taking a look at what game producers do and you have the answer there. All the games are designed with emotions and some games even react to the way the gamer is playing. All the emotions like guilt, sadness and remorse is a part of the overall gaming experience for ...


7

There is, I believe, research on making error messages more lighthearted and accessible (I recall having read it some point in the last 7 years of researching, but cannot recall where). The thing is, an error message displayed to the user should indicate that a problem occurred that was out of the control of the system. It should provide any relevant ...


6

Not only Microsoft uses the guidance on avoiding please in Error Messages. OpenOffice, a Microsoft Office competitor, also lets the developer know to avoid please: Use “please” only rarely, if ever. Sometimes lengthy instructions or error messages might need a touch of politeness added to one of several sentences, but generally, do not use “please” in ...


6

Ultimately you can't. People vote (or don't vote) for all sorts of reasons, none of which you can control. You can publish guidance (presented in tooltips or linked to from information icons) but you can't guarantee that people will read it or interpret it in the same way you intend. If you change the buttons to more clearly indicate you are looking for ...


6

Software doesn't have feelings or an ego, but people do. If, for example, you make a mistake while using AMEX's merchant PBX, the system says "Sorry, my mistake" in a pleasant human voice. This could be seen as patronizing by some, but it's also humanizing and in my opinion very smart. It's better to err on the side of being too apologetic, rather than too ...


6

Emotions is widely used and expresses feelings, mode and tone of the sender of the message. It’s mostly used in between people communication, where you in a text message can convey irony, sadness, excitement or happiness, which would take too long to write out, especially if the number of characters are limited. In the more recent years, these emoticons ...


5

When it comes to mood, you can't isolate color from shape and texture. The perception of color hinges on its context. I would suggest that a site about cancer should invoke calm and trust. So create a calming and trusting environment and the colors will follow from there. I seriously doubt that Van Gogh first started picking colors before painting a ...


5

I agree, they look patronizing, but worse if they were good you might fear that it could cause mental anguish for the viewer. I'd say keep it abstract (iconographs) if you must have a picture, say in multi-lingual environments where you do not have a translator. Otherwise I'd simply use a nice reassuring gentle readable text.



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