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For example, imagine if your web application offered inline installation of a Chrome extension. If that installation should fail because of an issue with the Chrome Web Store or Chrome itself, you're likely still going to want to offer the user whatever explanation and advice you can. In doing so, as a nicety should you include an apology for the inconvenience the user is facing? Or is that confusing the issue?

Today's Internet software (as well as hardware) is so interdependent that there are a myriad of situations where such a situation can arise (and especially around the use of APIs).

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It's nice to have an apology, but I'd make it clear whose/what's fault it is.

Sorry, but it seems that Chrome has failed to install the extension because {reason}. Make sure to update to the latest version of Chrome.

  • Whats your justification for this ? – Mervin Johnsingh Mar 6 '13 at 16:51
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    You wouldn't want the user to blame your product if it wasn't at fault. Making it clear that what went wrong wasn't your product's fault would help the user understand and hopefully prevent a bad user experience. – Sacha Mar 6 '13 at 18:40
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Yes, it should. The reason is kind of the other way around of simple user experience. It's not like that having a customized apology makes for a better user experience (it might and not). However, NOT having it could and would very well definitely lead to bad user experience.

For example, say you were the owner of Chrome. Most chrome extensions developed by 3rd party do not have proper error message handlers put in place. So when the error occurs, either the tab/extension/page goes awry, or they show a stacktrace(). () THIS, even though is not the fault of Chrome would most definitely make for a bad user experience and the not so tech savvy user (which would be 80% of your population) would blame Chrome which obviously you wouldn't want.

Hence, it is nice to have the apology not for a better user experience necessarily, but rather to prevent the bad experience.

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