I'm sure that users would think:
My HP Laserjet says "PC LOAD LETTER" and refuses to print.
Is there something wrong with my PC (Personal Computer)?
Do I need to LOAD a program? Is this an error message?
What does it mean?
Where's my user-manual?
This is an obvious user experience problem from the 1990s, and was brought back to mind as I watch Office Space, which uses it in a scene. (Later, the printer is brought to a field where three software engineers stomp on it, beat it with a baseball bat, and one even uses his fists on it.)
The user is intended to know, upon seeing this message, that they should Load Letter-sized paper into the Paper Cassette. However, it is generally recognized as one of the worst Error Messages that mankind has ever seen.
Two actual questions that I'm looking to get answered here:
How did HP come to actually ship printers with this UX problem?
How do we prevent this sort of UX problem from shipping with products in the future?
Did they have enough space for a more understandable message and not fix it where they had the opportunity (a programming matter)? If it was too small for a bigger message (a hardware limitation), was it a conscious cost-cutting measure? Wouldn't the costs of printing documentation (easy for users to lose) outweigh the costs of fixing the product?
Is this question on-topic?
From the help page:
What topics can I ask about here?
User Experience Stack Exchange is for User Experience Designers, Information Architects, and Human Computer Interaction researchers. If you have a question about...
- Specific UX design problems
- UX issues that can be solved with expert advice or existing research
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… then you’re in the right place to ask your question!
Emphasis added. If this isn't a "Specific UX design problem," then I don't know what is.