Installation Confirmation Message

I just finished installing SQL Server 2005 Express Edition.  At the end of the installation process I received a confirmation message.  It says:

SQL Server 2005 Express installation confirmation

I added a red rectangle to make my point clear.  Reading the information in that rectangle I actually thought the installation encountered some errors.  When I looked at the log, everything went fine.  Then why isn’t there any message in this confirmation window stating that the installation was succesful?

Again it is clear to me that confirmation and error messages should be clear and meaningful for the user.  Developers have the responsibility to think out of the expert box.

Email confirmation messages

When you order something on the Internet, you usually get a boring confirmation message with the possibility to print the details and email message that is sent to confirm your order.  Since I don’t like to sit around piles of confirmation papers, I rely on the email.  But since it is too dull to read I don’t even bother to check whether the details are correct (stupid).

Yesterday I booked a hotel room and after confirmation of my credit card details I received a browser message stating:

“In half an hour you will receive an email with the details of your booking.  There’s a chance this message will be blocked by your spam filter, so please check your junk email folder. If you haven’t received it, you can check your details online.  You need this code: 9347573947 and this pincode: 3477.”

Thank God I received the email, perhaps because my spam rule is not too restrictive (I receive so many “Enlarge your penis” mails that I start to feel insecure), because I didn’t know how long I would be able to remember those digits. Clearly the site wasn’t thinking of minimizing the users’ memory load, found in so many usability heuristics.

Today I ordered again on the Internet, this time I had a positive experience on confirmation messages.  I ordered at Moo‘s, a company that prints little photo cards.  I received a confirmation message that looked like this:

Email confirmation message I received from Moo

The text is funny, it’s short, it says what needs to be said, but in a light tone (instead of: “This is an automated mail. Do not reply to this message.”).  It brings a smile on my face, first time I have this with these kind of messages.

First things first

I have been thinking about usability and ergonomy for ages, without even having a clue about the existance of these domains.  A couple of years ago I found out about it by means of information design; an epiphany struck me when I found out what is meant.

And now at last I started an academic study at the university of Leuven, to be trained as a usability designer (http://soc.kuleuven.be/com/mediac/otc/lv/ud/index.htm). Just had my first session last Tuesday and I’m all thrilled with this Santa Claus feeling (you know: “Santa Claus is coming!”).

 So I decided to set up a blog to share my ideas while I’m evolving to a mature (pooha!) usability designer.