Even Great Error Messages Go Awry


December 2, 2005

I claimed this blog on a feed service tonight. One of the links that I clicked on didn’t work. Instead of giving me an ugly 404 Error, Page Not Found, they served up a wonderful page with their own template and great text. “We just revised our site,” it read, “We can’t find that page. We’re sorry. Really.” Frequent readers of this blog will know that I love polite error messages but it doesn’t matter how polite the message is when the missing page makes the customer irate. Tonight, that’s how I felt when the page that enabled me to sign up for the service was just not there. In fact, there was an “Aren’t we cool?” edge to the error message that really rubbed me the wrong way — no, you are not cool when your login page is nowhere to be found.